Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pastel Landscape of Old Barn in Early Morning, Image size: 16.5" x 12"; 27" x 23.5" Framed $350

"Morning on Old Olympic Hwy"
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Early every morning (almost), I drag myself from my warm bed and go walking with a friend. Sometimes I remember to bring my camera. This one particular morning this fall, the fog was just lifting off of a field behind an old barn. The sun was low and was spreading out over the field lighting up the fog. The light effects were spectacular! Oh crap. I forgot my camera. Soooo..this piece is from memory. I think I pretty much got it the way I remember though. I stood staring at that scene trying to commit it to memory as much as possible. I gave two sizes here. The bigger size is of the painting framed. The price includes the frame. If you're interested, just click on the e-mail link above. Shipping is extra. I'm happy to e-mail a picture of the piece framed as well. Thanks for looking. Have a GREAT New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Still Life Oil of Ginger Jar and fruit, 34" x 38"

"The Ginger Jar"
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Although I've taken a break from daily painting in the last two weeks, I've still been busy at the easel. Here's a piece I just finished for an upcoming competition. As you can see, it's polished but lacks a lot of the spontaneity of daily pieces. I'm working on retaining the freshness of brush stroke in my larger pieces but have a ways to go. It's very easy to get too involved in detail on these larger pieces. I am happy, however, with the light here and with the color and values. My edge control was good and I like the composition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Home sweet home"

"My Studio"

OK. So it's not a painting. asked all its participating artists to post photos or paintings of their studios today. As I've been working on a large project for Oil Painters of America's annual juried competition, I was too engaged this morning to get into a painting of my studio. This afternoon was figure drawing, so a photo it was. Besides, I'd rather paint in it than use it as a subject. My studio is rather long and narrow - about 30 feet by 17 feet. I didn't bother turning around here, there's not much to see behind me except for some flat files and a large cabinet. I actually manage to squeeze five students in here on Wednesday mornings. It's tight, but we're a cozy bunch anyway. Hope you liked the brief tour. Thanks for stopping by.

I'm taking a brief break - actually started a few days ago, to finish my project and won't likely post again until after Christmas. Have a wonderful holiday! Susan

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Floral Oil Painting of Magnolias and Fruit, 24" x 36"

"Evening Shadows"
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I had a sick day today so I decided to post one of my more finished pieces. This definitely is not a "daily painting" having taken several sittings to complete. The work is done on panel and represents some of my better work. I've had some difficulty in getting a good picture of it but this seems to be a fairly good representation. The whole painting is a bit brighter but if I brighten it on photoshop, the flowers just get too bright. Haven't figured out how to compensate there. There's more subtlety in the flowers than is shown here. Hope you enjoy it. Click above if you want to inquire about purchase.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Floral Oil Painting of Tiger Lily and Copper Kettle, 9" x 12" on board

"Tiger Lily Tea"
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There's nothing like hot tea on a cold day. I threw the Tiger Lily and fruit in for color. I've been having to paint a lot under warm light because I've been getting started later in the studio. Daylight fades about 3:30 here so it doesn't leave me much time for painting if I get started after 2:00 PM. I rather miss the cool light and will try to make a concerted effort to get into the studio earlier. My eyes have been acting up a bit. The cool light will certainly be more comfortable to paint in.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Oil Painting of Yellow Tiger Lilies, 11" x 14" on board

"Tiger Lilies"

It's been so rainy and gloomy here in Washington, that I thought I'd bring some sunshine into my studio. So Tiger Lilies were the pick of the day. These were fun flowers to paint. I used warm incandescent light for this set up as I started late in the day and there wasn't enough natural light in my studio. I love the way the light plays on the lilies and shines through. See the detail below.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Original Oil Painting of Poppies and Glass Vase, 28" x 38"

"Poppies Aglow"

Poppies are such warm delicate flowers for such a hardy breed. I love the way they take on a glow in the light. This one has some nice thick paint in the blooms and leaves. See the detail below. It's also pretty contemporary for me. Has a nice kind of abstract feel to it. I was in an expansive mood today so I pulled out a really huge canvas and got to work. Boy am I pooped.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oil figure of a woman sitting on a bed in the morning light, 11" x 14 on hard board

"In the morning light"

Angela steals the show and the light in the morning. I was striving here to capture her mood and enhance it with the light. I'm happy with the skin tones which are warm and the over all feel of the composition.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oil Floral of Lilies and Cut Tangerine, 9" x 12" on panel

"Lilies and Cut Tangerine"

This painting is done on 1/4" thick 9" x 12" hard panel and finished with a light varnish. The Lilies are painted thickly in the lights with generous paint. I especially like the composition here which has good strong negative shapes. I'm quite satisfied with the way that the flowers fade into the shadows.

White always presents a challenge for artists. This is true especially of flowers which have many nuances in them. In chiaroscuro painting, the emphasis is on tonal quality and not so much on color. However, the trick is to discover the color in terms of temperature change and emphasize it just enough to bring life to the shadows and make the whites stand out against each other without falling into mud.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oil Floral of Roses in a Copper Vase, 12" x 16"

"The Copper Vase"

It's been awhile since I painted in cool light. I generally use a warm incadescent light that I can dim or brighten according to the needs of the painting. But cool natural north light is always preferable. My studio sometimes makes this difficult. But today I moved things around a bit and this painting of roses in cool light emerged. I love roses, as do most people, but always find them a challenge to paint. Think I did OK here. I especially like the way the warm copper vase sets off the warm tones in the roses.

"The Copper Vase" is painted on 16" x 20" unstretched canvas. It has a lovely 2" unpainted border around it giving it a number of framing options. See the image below. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oil Figure of a reclining woman, 11" x 15"

"Angela Sleeping II"

This afternoon, the sun was actually shining for awhile into my studio and I couldn't bring myself to shut down the lights, huddle in the dark and paint a still life. So I dug into my model collection and decided to do a sister piece to the last "Angela Sleeping."

I've been having a lot of fun with these pieces. I especially like the white border around the painting. It intrigues me with some design possibilities. While I certainly won't be doing all my pieces like this, I intend to explore it here and there with other ideas.

"Angela Sleeping II", like it's sister piece, is painted on 16" x 20" unstretched canvas. It has a two and a half inch border around it which sets it off in a lovely way. See below. It has a variety of options for framing. It can be stretched onto stretcher bars, backed on board, or matted decoratively under glass.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oil Floral of Hayacinth and Cut Apples, 14" x 18"

"Hyacinth and Cut Apples"

This pitcher and bowl have been hanging around my dining room for many years and I only now decided to paint them. I was aiming for a soft glowing look here and trying to pick up the color I saw reflected in the shadows. I'm quite happy with the outcome.

Postscript: About one hour before I posted this, my devil of cat, Nalie, jumped onto the still life set-up and knocked the entire thing to the floor. Sigh. Glad I painted it. At least I managed to salvage the pitcher.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oil Floral of Pink Orchids, 12" x 20"

"Orchid Glow"

Orchids, despite popular belief, are quite hardy. It goes without saying that they are beautiful as well. I like painting in unusual sizes. These orchids seemed to fill the space nicely. This sort of composition always intrigues me. I like designs where the object or subjects flows off the table. I may try this again from an even more severe perspective. I somehow picture a piece like this in a niche or on a narrow wall.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oil Figure of a reclining woman, 11" x 15"

"Angela Sleeping"

Angela is my favorite model. I barely had time to dash this off today before going to my life drawing group. It served as a nice warm up. I was surprised at how easy it was for me to paint and yet drawing today at my group proved to be a challenge.
I really enjoy painting the figure and love doing portraits and nudes. I was striving to stay loose here to retain the mood. What do you think?

"Angela Sleeping" is painted on unstretched canvas which measures 16" x 20". The actual image size is 11" x 15". You have a good choice here to either (1) have the canvas stretched; (2) have it trimmed and backed on board or (3) just matted and put under glass. I rather like the look of the clean canvas around the figure. It sets it off nicely. For a better idea of what I'm speaking about, see the image below. Color may or may not be accurate depending on your monitor. If she looks sunburned on your monitor, you're a little to the red side.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pastel Landscape of a walking trail in fall, 11" x 14", $50

"Fall Journey"
Click here to purchase

I've painted many stretches of the Discovery Trail, a long walking path that winds through the northern stretch of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. This particular scene comes from one of my daily walks on the trail. This piece is in pastel – which for many years was my primary medium. I’ve been doing mostly oils for the past year to improve and stretch. It was nice to push a little pastel color around a bit today.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Oil Floral of Peonies and Red Vase, 11" x 14"

"Peonies and Red Vase"

This red vase is a favorite of mine. Combined with the pink Peonies, it seemed to just pop off my still life stand. I think I caught the roundness of it pretty well. I've been struggling with that lately. It has a lovely romantic feel to it and the flowers have lots of thick paint on them. I was going to paint a landscape today but that red vase kept calling to me from the shelf. I’m having a lot of fun with color these days. Sort of change from my strict tonalist approach


Friday, November 09, 2007

"Red Pears"

Red pears are one of the loveliest things about fall. Not only are they delicious, but their jewel like colors always draw my eyes. I tried here to capture that color. I especially love the warm reddish glow on the shadow side. That color effect is so elusive. But that's what keeps me coming back to paint them again and again. The flowers here are a nice touch but they are just supporting cast for the main players. Hope you enjoy. Thanks for looking.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pastel Painting of Blond Child in Lavender,16" x 22"

"In Her Thoughts"
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Lavender and children seem to go well together. I've been bringing out some of my pastel pieces to post mainly because the pieces are so seasonal, they rarely get seen except in the summer. This original is still for sale, albeit not for $39.00. Prints are also available. Feel free to email me if your interested in getting some prices for Giclee prints. I have several sizes available.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pastel Painting of Young Girl in Field of Lavender, 14" x 20"

"Emily Flying"
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Emily is the granddaughter of a friend. She loves the camera. We took her to a local lavender farm last summer and I snapped a picture as she ran along the row of lavender. I think her feet never touched the ground. I did this in pastel because nothing matches the medium for intensity of color.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oil Painting of a Native American Woman, 38" x 48"

"Gathering the Day"

Because I'm traveling on family business this week, I'm unable to complete daily paintings, but I have a few images I'd like to share until the 3rd of November when I'll be painting again regularly. This painting was a commission I recently finished for a private collection. The model was a Native American who was referred by a friend. She was perfect for the job and the resulting piece is much loved by it's new owners. I live in the northwest and the scenery is common to our area where sea stacks and broad ocean views inspire all who come to see them. "Gathering the Day" was painted in careful layers with lots of glazing to bring out highlights and shadows. This work is very different from my "ala prima" pieces that I usually publish on this blog...and of course she did not cost $39.00. But both kinds of work have their pluses and my daily paintings contribute to a storehouse of experience and knowledge that translate nicely into these more polished works. When things calm down for me, I'll be starting a teaching blog where I plan to show works like this in progress and discuss my techniques for creating them. Hope you like "Gathering the Day". Comments are welcome.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oil Painting of Magnolias and Copper Kettle, 11" x 14"

"Sweet Magnolia Tea"

By now my collectors know that Magnolias are my favorite blooms. I love to combine them in interesting ways and here I've wrapped them around a warm copper kettle. There are warm golden reflections on the flowers that may or may not show up depending on your monitor.Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Floral Oil Painting of Peonies and Cut Glass Vase, 11" x 14"

"Floral and Cut Glass"

I have a lot of crystal around the house that has come to me one way or another. I love the shape of this vase and always find it a challenge to paint. I used lots of paint in the blooms and feel pretty satisfied with the play of light and shadow. What do you think?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oil Floral Oil Painting of Hyacinth, 20" x 24"


I took a little extra time to complete this one. As I was interupted yesterday to run an errand, I didn't get into the studio again until today to complete it. I really love pinks and purples and it shows here. I'm going to do this set up again sometime, but with a different approach. Again, I'm looking to capture something special in the light.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oil Painting of a Floral with fruit, 11" x 14"

"Fruit and Flowers"

My quest for painting light continues. Here my objective was to get the paint nice and juicy without losing detail. Always a challenge for me. But I think I managed nicely. Take a look at the detail pictures below. When I look at these pictures and then compare to my work just a year ago, I can see such a difference. More painterly and definitely more interpretive of the light. There's a learning curve though. Ala prima is definitely more challenging for me than a layered approach so my layered work looks more finished. But I like this too.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Floral Oil Painting of Peonies and Chinese Vase, 11" x 14"

"Peonies II"

I spent the day painting with a friend and these peonies were the end result. I had some fun with the vase but I especially like the airy feeling of atmosphere that this one has. This is too big to put on my scanner so it's hard to show off the thick paint on the flowers but it's so thick it stands up. Note the reflections of the peony on the table top. Yummy.
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oil Landscape Painting of an Autumn Day on a Walking Trail, 11" x 14" on Board

"Autumn on the Discovery Trail"

Today I spent the day painting with my art buddy. I really enjoyed having someone to work with. Being an artist can so often be isolating.

I recently took a workshop on color. Color, color color! This painting has plenty of it. This piece has thick passages of paint and great feeling. It's quite a lot like some pastel pieces I have done. I'm really having a lot of fun with this.

Friday, October 12, 2007 sure to check out my new Ebay store at

Oil Painting of Magnolias and Pitcher, 12" x 16" Canvas

"Magnolias with Cherry Pitcher"

This past week was spent on Whidbey Island at a workshop on color. While my pastel paintings are generally filled with it, I tend more toward tonalism in my oils. Perhaps because I have to mix rather than just choose color. Here I tried to incorporate some of what I learned this past week. There's lots of rich paint here and the color, although anything but flamboyant, has just the right zing. The canvas is a wrap around so there's no need to frame because the sides are painted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oil Floral of Red and Coral Roses, 9" x 12"

"Birthday Roses"
Click here to purchase from Susan.

September 14Th was my birthday. OK - never mind how old. The point is I was presented with these beauties upon my return from my morning walk. Actually there were a dozen of them but I didn't get to paint them until today. So what you see are the culls.

Roses are a difficult flower to master but I feel I managed to get their character here. The vase is a very old yellow "petal" vase where the top edges are turned out like petals. It belonged to my mother and I love the challenge of painting it. The paint is extremely thick in the flowers and leaves. It seemed the best way to sculpt them.

These days when I paint "ala prima" - a painting in one sitting, my objective is to use an economy of strokes, or to make each stroke a deliberate placement with little manipulation of the paint surface after I've laid it down. So with the flowers, my goal was to bring forth the character of the Roses without belaboring them. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oil Painting of Hydrangeas and Plums, 9" x 12"

"Hydrangeas and Plums"

It's been awhile since I painted Hydrangeas and I found it a challenge. It surprised me, though, how difficult it was to get the plums looking as wonderful as they appeared to me. While they're not the focus, I think they came out really well. One of the painting techniques I’ve been working on during the past year is to place each stroke with care and deliberateness. This is very hard to do – especially when you come from a background of painting in careful layers with glazing and scumbling. But I think I succeeded here – at least with the plums. They have really rich color too, which, depending on your monitor may or may not be visible to you.

I made a commitment this year that each daily painting would have a purpose other than just practice and, of course, possible sale. I'd like to make each one either part of an overall lesson plan or an experiment in technique. I'll try to remember to post what my objective was when I painted the piece.

I'd love some feedback, so if you're new to my site or even if you're not, please feel free to click on the "comments" link on the blog page. Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oil Painting of Dahlia in Silver Server with Grapes, 6" x 8"

"Dahlia and Silver"
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My walking buddy invited me to pick her last Dahlia. Anyway that's what she called the flower. I'm really ignorant of flower names except for the common ones so I suppose that's what it is. It fit nicely in my silver server and the red cloth really set it off. Because of the slightly rougher texture of the canvas board, I put a lot of paint on the flower.

I recently purchased a few 6” x 8” canvas boards because I liked the size. However, I find painting on them a challenge because the texture is rougher than the boards I usually prepare myself. The whole painting experience changes and detail becomes much more difficult. It has caused me to apply more paint…and three coats of lacquer! I think when I’m done with these, I’ll just cut a bunch of board to the same size and prepare them myself.

I’ve rearranged my schedule to get more painting time in the studio. I even posted a sign on the studio door with my new hours. Now if I could only get my cats to read. Anyway, I hope to be able to produce more regularly now for
Thanks for looking!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Oil Floral of Magnolia and Nectarines, 6" x 8"

"Sharing the Light"
Click here to purchase direct from Susan.

This little green vase is special to me - it's a private thing. But I thought its soft green color would set off the fruit and flowers here just perfectly. I do - don't you? I used generous paint on this one and I really liked the warm color in the cloth. The color may vary depending on your monitor.
Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Oil Figure of a Nude, 6" x 8"

"Stacey at Rest"

Once a week I meet with some friends to draw from a model. This week was long pose week and so I took the opportunity to do a small oil. I really enjoyed doing this piece. The light was good and Stacey never moved a muscle. I'm satisfied with the flesh tones too although the colors may or may not be off depending on your monitor. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Oil Floral Still Life of Pears and Hollyhocks, 6" x 8"

"Hollyhocks and Pears"

My walking buddy invited me to pick from her garden so I grabbed the last Hollyhocks before the deer could get them. I like this slightly larger, yet compact size. This piece has generous paint and I especially like the use of cool light here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Oil Floral of Cornflowers and Pewter Pitcher, 5" x 7"

"Cornflowers with Pewter"

Lunch at a friend and collector's home brought me this little pewter pitcher (on loan) to paint. It has a soft warm patina. I liked the play of the cool cornflowers against the warm tones of the grapes and the pitcher.
The painting is varnished and has a lovely soft glow. Good generous paint on this piece.

I've been out of practice on small pieces this summer but it's good to get back into the flow again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oil Reproduction from Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel

"The Delphic Sybil"

OK. So it's not exactly an original. Last fall I took a dream vacation and finally got to see the Sistine Chapel in Rome. "The Delphic Sybil" is one of my favorite images and I've actually reversed it here. I thought it would be fun to do a series of these to a small scale - perhaps in reverse. Just for practice. The piece is signed "Spar after Michaelangelo" which is in keeping with tradition when copying from a master.
Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 20, 2007

"By the Full Moon Bridge"

I started this large painting the other day at our local county fair as a demo piece. I realize this is not a full painting done in one sitting (actually it will take several sittings of several hours each to finish), but I thought some of you might enjoy seeing something actually develop. Right now it's pretty much in the underpainting stage and needs a lot of refinement. I'll be showing you other stages as they develop but not over the next few days as I have "daily" paintings to do and also a large commission demanding my attention.

I started this piece with a raw umber imprimatura (toned canvas), and then did a subtractive underpainting in which I pulled out the highlights showing the white canvas below. You can still see this part of the painting in the flowers that she is holding. Once dry I started working thin layers of paint into it. I kept things simple but have defined the skin temperatures for the planes of the face. The hair is the last to be painted and I wait until the final strokes of the painting to do this. Her hair is up in a knot so right now she looks a bit masculine as if she has short hair. The background is a bit of a challenge as I don't have much in the way of reference material for it, but it seems to be coming along well enough. I keep you posted as things move along. Feel free to comment or ask questions.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Oil Figure Painting of a reclining woman, 5" x 7" on panel

"The Red Robe"

Figure or "life" drawing is a passion of mine. I attend a small open studio group once a week and feel that the work I have done there has made a huge impact on my work. "A" is a model that sometimes sits for the group and for me privately. I did this as a color study for a larger piece. I like the way it came out. Some of the color in the face shows as higher contrast here than in the actual painting which is much softer. The scanner tends to pick up every dot of color and also casts some shadows on the tiny flecks of paint.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oil Painting of Wine and Pears, 5" x 7", $45

"Chianti & Pears"

I'm trying some different twists to my palette and using the opportunity of doing (more or less) daily paintings to experiment. Hope you like this one. I do. I’ve found myself stunned sometimes by the way color works with light and how just a little flick of the brush can bring such change to a little vignette. I am also astounded how much the practice of painting daily has improved my work and my understanding. While I don’t think everything I produced last year is noteworthy, it all came together in a great way and some of the larger work I produced this summer has brought me a lot of commissions and notice. So, although, I’m often fretful over having to come up with something new to paint, I can’t complain about the real end product…my own improved skills. Thanks for checking in and PLEASE, feel free to leave your comments by clicking on the link under each post.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Original Plein Air Pastel Painting of Ruby Beach

"Ruby Beach"
Available $75.00
E-mail Susan about this painting.

Most of my collectors are unaware that I have been a pastel painter for more years than I have painted in oil. I recently decided to add my pastels to my daily painting blog and to put a few up for sale on Ebay.
This piece is 11" x 14" and was painted on location at Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. I had just started this when the fog started to roll in. It was a mad race to the finish. When I folded up my easel, I was in pea soup.
The pastel is lightly sprayed and will be shipped protected by glassine between two pieces of foam core. Pastels are pure pigment. They are completely fade resistant - more so than oils or watercolor. Color may vary from the original depending on your monitor.

Friday, August 10, 2007

"My Glass Magenta Vase"
Available for $75
Click here to e-mail Susan about this painting.

My summer hiatus was lovely but it's back to the easel. It surprised me how good it felt to do one of these again after my bigger summer projects.

This piece is 11" x 14" and has a sort of build-in wood frame with it so there's no need to frame it. Check on the link to Ebay and you can see an image of what the painting looks like with the frame around it.

This magenta glass vase is one of my favorite things. The color may or may not be off a bit depending on your monitor and my camera.

Thanks for looking and for those of you who have stayed loyal...double thanks!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Original Still Life of Copper Mug with Paint Brushes, 5" x 7", $40.00

"A few old friends"
Click here to purchase through

Sigh. I've had a wonderful summer vacation but I'm back to work now. Sort of.

I want to say a personal "thanks" to all my fans out there who have sent me e-mails and inquired as to when I would take up my brush again. I dearly needed the break from "having" to paint and the breath of fresh air allowed me to focus on larger and more important pieces. Still a few things to take care of this August, but I should be hitting the easel about three or four times a week and then pick up once winter settles in. It's important for me to say, though, that as the end date for my sabbatical drew near, I found my anxiety mounting. While I enjoy painting to an appreciative audience, I need to remain true to my muse. So things will change here a bit. I'll be posting as regularly as I can but the subject matter may change a bit and will occasionally include works in progress and subjects outside of my usual "old world" still lifes. Some will go to Ebay auction and others will be posted for sale on Etsy. Other more expensive pieces will be available through my website.

I'd like to leave my posts open for comment also so with a few changes to the settings on this blog, you will all be able to post comments and feedback. Be nice, now.

This piece was a warm up for the days ahead. They're old buddies. I love the old copper mug and I often use it as a subject as much as a work horse for holding my brushes. There's some nice thick paint on this one. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oil Painting of Pewter Pitcher with Poppies & Fruit, 9" x 12"

"The Pewter Pitcher"
Click here to bid.

This painting started as a lesson for a student. We both liked the way it turned out so here it is. I love reflective objects and this pitcher was lent to me by my neighbor and "walking buddy" to use in a still life so I hope I "done her proud".

I actually tried to tone the poppies here down a bit but they just refuse to be upstaged by the bright lemon. The lemon had a soft halo around it and is so bright, you have to squint a little to look at it. Lots of thick paint on that lemon and the pewter looks so shiny you can almost see your face in it.