Saturday, December 25, 2010

New Greeting Cards!

In the New Year twenty-one different greeting cards of images from my paintings are available for purchase through local card, gift, and pet stores, and also directly from me. A large selection of the cards are already featured at Books Inc., the Alameda Natural Grocery, Dog Bone Alley, and the Encinal Market in Alameda; Payn's Stationery on Solano Avenue, Castle in the Air on Fourth Street in Berkeley, The Framer's Workshop, also in Berkeley, and at the Arlington Pharmacy in Kensington.  Check back for new venues!

The first eleven images are of "Secret Alameda" landscapes, mostly in and around my home on our island here in the San Francisco Bay. The second ten cards are of all kinds of dogs and cats, mostly, but also the occasional chicken and horse, in landscapes and interiors both real and imagined.

Over the years I have created several different small sets of greeting cards from my paintings, but this year I decided to create a true "line" of note cards for retail sale from a selection of my gouache landscapes and pet portraits, with blank interiors for your personal message. They are handsome note cards, printed on 100% recycled stock, folding to 4.25" x 6", include white envelopes, and are individually wrapped in a protective clear sleeve. The suggested retail price at local stores is $3.00 per card, but for mail orders through me the cost is $4.00 per single card including handling and postage. Please inquire for costs of multiple card orders.

Here are eleven images for my Secret Alameda series of note cards:

Sunset, Crab Cove Lagoons

The Seawall, Crab Cove

Early Morning Back Gardens

From the Alameda Ferry

The Garden Gate

The USS Hornet

Night Scene, Santa Clara Avenue

The Oak at the End of the Road

The Ready Reserve Ships, Alameda Navy Piers

The Last Livery Stable

The Palms

And here are ten images of pets, in real and symbolic landscapes, also available as greeting cards:

Nell Gwynn, the Marmalade Cat

Pandora on the Turkish Sofa

Slater in Landscape

Study in Black and Fawn: The Artist's Pug

Teddy's Afternoon

Belinda, the Red Hen

Bernie on the Blue Armchair

Miss Woo in the Moorish Parlor

Mitch and the Tennis Ball

Miss Camille Clotille, Hurricane Katrina Survivor

For updated information on stores carrying my note cards, or to order individual or sets of cards from me directly, please contact

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Painting the U.S.S. Hornet

My solo show, "Secret Alameda", at Vines Gallery in Alameda in June was a success on all fronts - I sold almost all of my paintings, and it was exciting to be enthusiastically supported by the gallery, the attendees, collectors, and friends.  Such a thrilling experience to be validated as an artist by so many people in these hard economic times...

One of the paintings displayed in the show was a large sunset view of the Ready Reserve Ships, docked out at the Navy Piers in Alameda. The gallery owner suggested that I contact the USS Hornet (a huge aircraft carrier,  now a museum, berthed next to the ships I had painted) to see if they would be interested in a portrait of the Hornet.  I contacted the museum store manager, and she decided that visitors to the Hornet would be very interested in a dramatic view of the aircraft carrier, similar to the one I had done of the Ready Reserves.  I then visited the ship many times at sunset to study the changing light as the sun went down. On the 4th of July the ship was bedecked with flags, so I added those after I had basically finished the painting to add some interest and color above the flight deck.  I thought at first the flag at the prow was the standard stars and stripes, but then noticed that this flag had only red and white stripes, not 50 stars on blue.  It is apparently a striped "Navy Jack" flag, flown first in 1775, and still flown on Navy ships on special occasions like Independence Day.  I painted it carefully with stripes only!

I have spent a lot of time creating the most powerful composition I could come up with, and finally have a painting that I think catches the looming majesty - and threat - of this enormous warship.

Here are some photos of the painting in progress:

First I cover the entire sheet of heavy rag paper with a tinted wash - in this case cadmium yellow.  I paint the sky, setting sun, and clouds first, then work on the foreground details.  I had already painted the ship when I decided to take these photos, so half of the painting is in effect done.

Here the water and reflections are being added, and the details on the ships on either side.

The final painting, still on the easel, with the rest of the Navy flags added last of all.

Here is the final scan of my gouache painting of the U.S.S. Hornet on the 4th of July.

Monday, May 3, 2010

SECRET ALAMEDA Artist Reception and Show

I live on a small island in San Francisco Bay, originally an oak-covered peninsula that now is separated from the Oakland shore by an estuary.  Alameda was settled in the mid 19th century, and has an astonishing number of old neighborhoods remaining in relatively pristine condition.  A man-made lagoon snakes its way through the island, and beyond that is the bay. We are surrounded by water, and can hear the container ships, and the fog horns out on the bay from our house, as well as the trains coming and going from the Jack London station just across the estuary. Old oaks from Ohlone times still grow in Victorian gardens, and the sun sets over the great bay with the skyscrapers of San Francisco silhouetted on the horizon.

It's an evocative place for a painter.  So many of my pictures are of quiet, mysterious corners of our island, often in twilight, that when Vines Gallery offered to host a one-woman show of my work,  my husband suggested a name for the collection: "Secret Alameda".  The artist reception and show will be on June 5, 2010, and the paintings will remain on display for a month.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Landscapes and Streetscapes

My media of choice is gouache, and my favorite subjects are landscapes and studies of animals and the natural world.

Gouache is water soluble like watercolor but can be worked as a pale aqueous wash or as a thick impasto like oil paint. Underpainting and working light on dark are also possible, as well as incredibly vivid color. For many years now I have been experimenting with gouache alone; and gouache with layers of aging varnishes, crackle varnishes, and tinted glazes. Each imparts a different patina and depth, and allows the creation of faux old masterpieces like the tongue-in-cheek "Gainsborough" portraits of pets, or the twilight landscapes inspired by the early California Tonalists.

Many of my paintings are evening scenes—old neighborhoods, quiet gardens and shorelines, painted at the time of day when edges blur, details become merely light and shadow, and when representational images verge on the abstract.