Sunday, July 30, 2017

Canvas preparations

Canvas preparation days.
Kind of a boring post because there is a sea of white in my studio right now! I painted over 40 canvas yesterday and another 12 ~24 x 24's today. At least 10 hours of white soft body Acrylic by Liquitex. The canvas must be painted white because the Gesso actually makes them look grey and the sepias don't look good at all!
 I don't use house paint, it would be a LOT cheaper! I use the Liquitex soft body because it flattens out to a smooth surface and has great coverage,. I am also concerned about my collectors receiving  an archival product.  I order it by the gallon and use a combination of brush and roller.  
Most of the time the big ones require two coats!

Anyway, I'm bushed! Sorry for no sea creatures to fill your dreams tonight!
More coming tommorow,  I promise!

Canvas preparation days, Acrylic on canvas, Several sizes
Day 28 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Diving girls

These little ones are fun! Painted on recycled wood, they are sold at the Artist's Gallery in Downtown Fairhope. 

Fairhope Diving Girls , Acrylic on recycled wood, 5 x 8 inches
Day 27 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lined Seahorse

While not as dramatic as the seahorse last night, this one is still pretty!
I love the shading and the details are fun for me. I am making it an early night though, we must get up at 4 something in the morning because we are walking the beach for sea turtle nests. 
Another of my passions!
The SEA!

Lined seahorse, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 
Day 26 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Seahorse central

Now this was a day of getting things done!
Of course, the husband, Christopher helped a lot with some of it this morning.
First off, we have our youngest coming home from India for a few days to the good old USA! 
While she is here, she has a show in New York City, visits with siblings, and a renewing of vows American style! We are SO excited to host our beautiful India Family while they are here, and plans are being made to show them a good time while they are visiting us. I can only hope we make them feel as welcome here as we felt in India. Many thanks to my husband, as he helped me get the invitations out in a timely manner! No small feat as they were quite involved and I am a control freak! There I said it, I love to be in control! But I let it go sometimes, delegate, delegate, delegate....

Many other things happened today as the Mr. is retired and needing things to do! I am grateful for him being home now and not fighting traffic, the heat, and the call phone.
Seahorse Central is one of the 'things' happening today. I enjoy painting seahorses and it is a plus that they always sell eventually.

Seahorse Central, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 shadowbox canvas
Day 25 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Seahorse study

Today marks the beginning of a couple of days of seahorses. 
This particular one is just a simple study for the larger painting to come. 
This one is an H. hippocampus. 
I love to paint them!

Seahorse study, acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
Day 24 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Turtle mode!

Once again, I am on a turtle kick!
 I love sea turtles, (as you can tell!)

All species of turtle are in danger from the toxins and garbage in our oceans. Most of all, they are at risk from injesting plastics. Please think about that the next time you release balloons, don't catch that grocery bag, or forget to pick up that straw from your drink. All these items are harmful to turtles and other sea creatures as they are ingested, causing impactions. Sea turtles float when they get impacted, making them susceptible to boat strikes, illness, and possible predator activity.

This guy, thankfully is happy and healthy!
Turtle Mode! Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24
Day 23 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Monday, July 24, 2017

Breaking out

Breaking out

Nothing makes me happier than to have people love my work! I am so grateful for the talents God has gifted me with so generously. Every day I get to do what I love doing, create!
This is another shadowbox canvas, one of the most popular types of canvases I use, because of the dimension it adds to my paintings.

It is now getting close to the  time for turtles to start hatching. We went to training tonight for nest monitoring. Next week we'll sit by the nest for 2 hours listening for signs of movement. If you've never experienced a boil at a nest, it is amazing! I have been at several nest hatchings and each one is unique. 

Breaking out, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24
Day 22 of the 100 days~ 100 paintings

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Just gliding along

"Just Gliding along"

One of my bucket list things to do some day is swimming with sea turtles. 
I want to be able to be close up and photograph them in their environment. I am fascinated by the way they seem to to glide through the water in their own somewhat silent world. 
In the meantime, I just paint sea turtles! This guy is part of my multiple canvas piece that will eventually include three turtles, a challenge indeed!

"Just Gliding Along", Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24
Day 21 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Come Play with Me!

Of course this one was fun to paint!
If you have never been on a dolphin cruise, I highly recommend it! The sheer beauty and playfulness of these beautiful creatures has no equal on this big blue marble we call home.

I thought about putting color on this pair, but decided that sepia was the way to go! The sepia's are by far my best sellers and have been for several years now. This whimsical pair is on a canvas that is quite large, 2ft x 4ft. I am taking it to the Artists gallery on South Section St. in Fairhope next week along with some more of the new ones from the 100 days. 

"Come Play with Me!", Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 48 inches
Day 20 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Friday, July 21, 2017

Picasso boxes and dish washing gel?

I know I said I wouldn't but here I go!
This past week has been another inspiring session with the young ones!
I had little ones from 7 to 11 years this past week and they are just too fun!
Most fun of all were the Picasso boxes! They are made from recycled cereal, cookie, drink, and any box I could get my hands on to cut into shapes. There are also some toilet paper tubes as well.
Masking tape or glue to put them together and then paint! I forgot to photograph the one that had tiger stripes! I am so grateful that parents share their children with this art teacher. 
I am indeed blessed and full of energy now!

My third attempt at the acrylic paint, dish washing gel and spray paint. 
They are so fun! The kids love to wash off the gel and expose their paint underneath.

Picasso boxes and dish washing gel, mixed media, 
Day 19 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Flamingo IV

Flamingo IV

The last in the series of Flamingos for now. Each measuring 10 x 20 inches they are made to be in pairs although they can be bought individually. If you notice two face right, two face left. 

Art class is almost over at the Art Center and so will children's summer classes be finished for me!
I can then work on the program for Atelier class at the Eastern Shore Art Center for the Fall. The classes will be on Tuesdays after school, starting in September. What is Atelier? The word means studio in French and it is an anything goes class. We have done painting, recycled art, wire art, 
paper mache, sculpture and so much more! I look forward to an exciting fall with the little ones!

I am also preparing for Fall classes with ESILL, Eastern Shore Institute of Lifelong Learning. I am offering a beginning Watercolor class, An intermediate Watercolor class, 
Beginning Acrylics (or Oils), and continuing Acrylics. The classes start in September as well. Look for their flier to come out shortly!

I will also be teaching again at my church, Scripts & Strokes starts on Monday's in September as well. Add in a couple of shows, 100 days of paintings, and life is rocking here at the 
Raccoon Retreat Studio!

Flamingo IV, Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 20
Day 18 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2017 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Flamingo III

Flamingo III

This series has been fun this week. Only one more I promise!
I am teaching at the Eastern Shore Art Center this week. The kids are so creative in their projects I am amazed!

Flamingo III , Acrylic on Canvas, 10 x 20
Day 17 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Flamingo II

I am once again teaching at the Eastern Shore Art Center. This week the class is slightly smaller, but no less intense! I try to keep the kids busy with creating. 
(After all, that IS what they are in class to do, create!)
Hopefully they are having fun while they are making their masterpieces.

A side note, I am also going through my Ahem, dozen boxes of supplies!
Finally letting go of some of the clutter, and trying to get it down to one box of supplies, 
and one box of teaching examples. We are trying new projects this year, so there will be more examples to pack after classes are over until fall.

Flamingo II is another in the series of birds coming from my easel of late. It also is in color, which is something people have been requesting. I love painting them, they are so fun!

Flamingo II , Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 20
Day 16 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Monday, July 17, 2017

Flamingo I

Flamingo I is a painting done from photographs I took several years ago while on a trip to the keys. I was fascinated by the birds, dipping and jumping in the water. We were visiting a small animal park  and I really was impressed by the variety of animals calling this place home!

On a side note, my show and teaching schedule is firming up as we speak! I've already received acceptance letters from National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores Mid October, Jubilee Festival, Daphne Late September. Still waiting to hear from Peter Anderson in Ocean Springs, 1st weekend in November.

More exciting news!
EVERY gallery I am represented by sold works this month! (Total of 5!)
Some large sales, some small, but ALL sold something.
 A first for me!

Flamingo I , Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 20

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Delightful dolphins

Delightful Dolphins is a large scale painting done from the one featured several days ago. I painted this one on a grander scale, specifically because a client requested it. Not fearing a challenge, I went to task. This same collector also has a custom built, hand stretched, Pelican painting that fits over their living room television when it is not in use. She asked for  a painting or paintings that would go over their French doors leading to their outdoor room. The space is rather large, measuring 15ft x 3ft. The painting in three pieces measures slightly over 9ft. We took it over to her home this evening and with the exception of background color being changed, it is finished! 

This painting in three pieces actually took 2 days because of teaching, church projects, and oh that little thing called sleep!

Delightful Dolphins, Acrylic on 3 canvases, 2 at 24 x 36, and central piece 30 x 40
Day 14 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Playful Dolphins

Playful Dolphins is another of the multiple piece series started this spring. 
This one is actually for a client that was disappointed recently when Big Fish Trading Company sold the set she was originally looking at to purchase. I assured her I could paint another equally as lovely, but not the same pose. I try not to recreate the same pose over and over, thereby keeping my work as fresh and new as possible. We made arrangements to meet and I brought the Dolphins with me for her to have them in her space. After I toured her gorgeous new home, we unpacked the dolphins. She loved them, but wanted her husband to see them as well. I left them at her home on approval overnight. 

The next afternoon, her husband had some questions, one of which was,
 "Do you ever paint in color?" He also wanted to know if I was on the same page as far as hanging them. Additionally, we discussed the color to be added that would remind them of their honeymoon. They also have the cutest photograph of them with dolphins in the Florida Keys!  There is a  beautiful teal blue green cabinet that is near where the painting will hang.  This couple already have a collection of art that includes a wonderful mosaic piece done by a friend.  

This is Playful Dolphins with color added. I have done this with several of my sepia paintings, sometimes by request, others on my own.
I hope they enjoy them in their home as much as I enjoyed painting them!

Playful Dolphins, Acrylic on canvas, 2 16x20 and 1 24x24 canvas, 
Total piece measures about 5ft by 2ft
Day 13 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Wet and Wild!

Wet and Wild!
This was the underpainting I posted the other day with the final finish. 
This process is so easy  and the kids just love it!
140 lb watercolor paper with an abstract painting. Use reasonably thick paint, don't let them dilute it with water.  Let dry at least overnight. 

This is the underpainting. After the painting is dry, You take dishwasher gel and dribble, squirt, and plop away. (We used ketchup and mustard bottles) After applying gel, immediately paint it with black spray paint. Wait just long enough for it to dry to touch, then comes the wet and wild!
You spray off the dishwasher gel to reveal the underpainting!
The kids love using the hose, but you must be careful they don't spray too hard! I found it easier to do the hose myself, getting them to move the paintings afterward to dry.

Wet & Wild!, Acrylic on Watercolor paper,  12 x 18
Day 12 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings 2017 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Another Octopus

Things have really been hopping here in Fairhope!
I am teaching classes for the Eastern Shore Art Center this week.  Chris and I are also working on projects for the church.
I am so happy the children seem to be having fun with the many projects we've completed this week.

Another Octopus is going to a bathroom up in Northern Alabama for a family member.
 It is painted on a fascinating triangular canvas that Michaels sold. 
Sad to say, they are no longer available.
It was interesting to paint to say the least!

 Another Octopus,  Acrylic on specialty canvas, 12 x 24
Day 11 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Surge!

Summer Surge is Celebration Church's version of VBS.  
Our theme is usually not a pre-set skit, but a carefully written and orchestrated learning experience for children from ages 5- 12. My husband got pulled into this one as well as others before. The difference is, he is retired now and does not have to do projects after work! Many thanks to my husband of 38 years Chris Chavez. We also seriously scored a lot of the lumber for free! (I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I'm also not scared to ask!) I love being a part of the effort, donating my talents to do God's work. This set is also much smaller than the ones I've been privileged to be a part of in previous years. I really enjoy using my talents for the children and the Pastors and the church!

Summer Surge, 8 ft x 12 ft, Latex paint on Luan wood

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Going outside the box

Experimenting, jumping off the cliff, riding the zipline, going outside the box. 
These are all things as adult artists we are sometimes scared to do! 
I am no exception, sometimes scared to try new things. 
New things like being the "Foreman" on a house project. 
Building a turtle nest from nothing complete with 75 baby turtles and eggs!
Carving a reverse turtle mold out of wood for the project.
Large murals 10 1/2 feet x 40 feet.
Staining concrete floors.
Making a bathroom in our home one large mosaic.
I have conquered all these thing by channeling my inner child and learning new things.

Studying new projects, creating the beauty, pushing my limits, going outside the box.
We all need to do this in our adult lives! This painting is actually an underpainting for an experimental process. 
Looking forward to the finished project!

Going outside the box, acrylic on watercolor paper, 12 x 16
Day 10 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Monday, July 10, 2017

Playing with the kiddos this week!

While this piece is not sale material, it was loads of fun!
Sometimes you've just got to go out of your comfort zone, and children really make me do this in spades. I love coming up with creative ways for the "littles" to have fun 
(although I have had adults join in at times!) I have learned so much about construction  and materials in my recycled class, there is virtually nothing I cannot figure out! 
I have entered the KID ZONE!

This week finds me at the Eastern Shore Art Center in downtown Fairhope. 
My class is chock full of 8-12 year olds in the Artelier class. This age is so much fun to teach and so eager to create! I am looking forward to a fun filled, hectic week!

I am also in the process of getting my better half to build a small amount of sets for our church's Summer Surge program. (Thanks love of my life! Chris Chavez) I am off to paint now!
It's going to be a busy, busy week!

Talk to the hand, Acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14
Day 8 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mobile Harbor~Middle Bay

I absolutely love the way this one turned out!
It started as a demonstration for a class, and I finally sat down and finished it! 
This one is mounted a new way for my watercolors. After finishing the watercolor, you spray varnish on it. I try to spray at least 2 or 3 coats of damar or acrylic. You then mount the paper onto canvas or board using acid free gel medium for acrylics. I brush the medium on to the paper and the substrate. After firmly pressing every possible area on the painting, you put as much weight on it as possible. (At least I do!) You can then varnish again if you like! The wonderful part about it is there is no need for glass or mats. While I know my framing friends will cringe at the thought, I prefer them this way. There is no glare on the glass, no glass to get broken, and none of the weight! This one is currently at the Artists gallery in Fairhope on South Section Street.

Mobile Harbor~Middle Bay, Watercolor paper mounted on canvas, 18 x 24
Day 7 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Big blue

Big blue was a sepia painting until this morning! 
I painted "en plein air" last night at artwalk in Fairhope. I just did not like how he turned out, so now we have a colored heron on panel. Sometimes paintings just work out that way, not quite what we expected! Instead of complaining about lemons, I made lemonade! 
I am quite happy with the results now.

Big Blue , Acrylic on wood panel, 10x20 inches, barnwood frame,
Day 6 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Friday, July 7, 2017


We took an amazing dolphin cruise a few years back down at Orange Beach. It was a delightful time for all on board, as the dolphins were particularly happy that day. They put on quite the ballet show, leaping and jumping in the wake of the boat. How do I know they were happy? They had this beautiful pink glow on their bellies! Such a pretty pink! I got an incredible amount of beautiful photographs, perfect for references and lots of paintings. I work from photographs a lot, it's hard to get any sea creature to sit still for a portrait! 

This shadowbox is one of 2 12 x 36 that I purchased and I wish I had gotten my hands on more! It's such a lovely size and the opening works well with the outside edge. I've painted this as a reference and mock up for a much larger piece in the works. 
That painting will be on three canvases measuring an incredible 9 1/2 feet total. I am actually looking forward to the challenge of painting such a large piece in a smallish studio. (My main studio is 12 x 16 ft of pure heaven!) I am creating it as a possible piece for a collector with a very large space above her double doorways going into her incredible screened porch. 
The total space is 3 ft by 15 ft. 
I only hope the  painting will be big enough! It is on 3 canvases, 2 at 24 x 36 , and one at 30 x 40
A caveat though, I could add 2 more 18 x 24's canvas and fill the space more!
We'll see what this new adventure brings!
Tonight is artwalk in Fairhope as well from 6 until 8pm. Weather permitting, I'll be outside painting at the gallery. 18 South Section Street. Hopefully I'll see some of my readers there tonight!

"Playtime!" 12 x 36 Shadowbox canvas, Acrylic , 
Day 5 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Don't be fooled by my toothy smile!

Yet another shadowbox canvas leaves the easel today. I am delighted to be able to paint another alligator. The last one I painted on a shadowbox sold before I could even photograph it! While not a common species in the sea, I have seen them swim in the brackish waters of our Mobile Bay as well as the Mississippi sound off the coast of Horn Island. For that reason I include them in my marine life  this year. I once tried to get my husband to Kayak over to about a 4 ft juvenile near 5 rivers so I could photograph him. 
He wanted nothing to do with that adventure!
(Same scenario with a caribbean grey reef shark in the Florida Keys. He never lets me have any fun, but he keeps me out of trouble......) Love ya honey!

I also ordered a dozen 24 x 24 canvases today. They are on a deep sale, and we cannot build them that inexpensively! A dozen more! It's a good thing I love painting them!

Don't be fooled by my toothy smile! , 24 x 24 inch canvas with a 12 x 12 opening, 
Acrylic , Day 4 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Feeling crabby

This is one of my shadowbox paintings, hence the shadow thrown across the top of the crab! I can also see that my skills as a photo editor are lacking. (there is a slight bit of background showing) The shadowboxes started as a happenstance a couple of years ago. A large art supply company, (okay Michael's had them), but I could not bring myself to purchase them as they were rather expensive. I had longingly looked at them all summer long, but trying to be a good steward of my money, could not justify the purchase. 

Fast forward to fall.
I participated in the National shrimp festival put on by the Alabama Coastal Chamber.
I had a really good show.
I went to Michael's to buy 4 inch canvases because they were on sale.
The shadowboxes were on clearance!
Three sizes 24x24 , 16x16, and 12x24's
3 carts and 22 canvases later, I had my purchase firmly in tow to my car.
I painted them over the course of the next 3 weeks.
I took them to Peter Anderson, in Ocean Springs MS.
I sold half of them that weekend .
Husband asks "Can you get any more of these?" "No" was my reply.
I think I can build them...............
We have been building them ever since. I thank God every day for the man that he has put into my life. I also thank God for the woodworking skills he has gifted him with! It has allowed me to tell a collector, sure we can custom build that size for you as well. 
The shadowboxes are still popular in their third year and have been at several shows with great results. (And sometimes, rather funny "fights" over who's going to get a particular one!) I am glad I was patient about buying them. Michael's had brought them back for a short time, but have since pulled them again. I also purchased angled canvases, but that's another post!

Oh well, on to paint! This crab from a photograph that a friend sent to me. She was teaching at the Dauphin Island Sea lab and during some of their field trips, she took lots of pictures! Thankfully, she is allowing me to use them as references for paintings. I love this pose especially on this canvas because the claws look like they are coming to get you!

"Feeling Crabby" , 12 x 24, Acrylic on shadowbox canvas
Day 3 of the 100 days~100 paintings for 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Octopus my octopus

Octopus my octopus is the latest of these beautiful creatures leaving my easel and studio. Measuring a rather large 2ft x 4ft, it was a challenge to finish in one day, so I took two! I started it on one day and finished it today. This octopus as a whole really fascinates me and I am always enthusiastic to start painting one. The added bonus is that they sell too!

Each summer, I mix up a large batch of Sepia paint to use for that year. The sepia color leans more towards the blue side this year as people seem to be happier with that range rather than the warmer brown.

Octopus my Octopus , 2 feet x 4 feet. Acrylic on canvas. 
Day 2 of the 100 days~100 paintings 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Middle Bay and Old Glory

"Middle Bay and Old Glory"

It's hard to imagine that it is already another year gone by and time to start the 100 Days~100 Paintings. I started this series in gulp.....2009. This year will find me blogging and painting my 900th piece of art! (Actually more, but there may be a post about that later.) I never imagined it would still be something I look forward to creating and writing about. This day begins the 2017 series. 

This year the dynamic is still changing daily. My hard work as a professional artist is paying off with my pieces starting to be in demand. This spring was very successful and it found me doing more commissions than ever. "The Artists gallery" on South Section Street, Fairhope Alabama, now carries my works in a double sized space. Big Fish Trading Company on 98 is also carrying my pieces to go with their fabulous furniture. People are also visiting the studio to pick out their works. 
I also began a new series of paintings on multiple canvases. 

Fall shows applications are in and acceptances are being sent. 
The biggest change of all is my husband retired from his 40 year job at the paper mill. I am really enjoying having the love of my life at home, but we are still getting used to doing things apart. Most exciting is our new "tiny house" we use to travel and carry our dachshunds along for the journey! I cannot wait to take it to shows for us to have a place to stay. 

Now as to the surprise mentioned on Facebook, I am giving away a shadowbox painting of your choice in the 16 x 16 size. This size painting sells at shows for $155. I am looking forward to seeing how many collectors, new and old sign up to be a part of this exciting giveaway!
Feel free to share, share, share, the link please.

This painting started as a class piece for one of my advanced watercolor students. She added her husband's  sailboat to her painting for an anniversary present. 
This one is a watercolor mounted to canvas and put into a barnwood frame.

"Middle Bay and Old Glory" Watercolor mounted on canvas 14 x 18