Friday, June 29, 2012

Ann Arbor Observed

At Last! My first published book is available from Cottage & Farm Press. It's 22 years of Observer cover art including scenes of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor parks and neighborhoods, daily life and events.

The book is only $29.95 and includes 48 pages of Ann Arbor Observer covers including anecdotes about my life and the techniques I used to create the illustrations. Hard cover, 12 x 12 inches. It makes a great gift or coffee table book.

I'll be introducing it officially at the State Street Ann Arbor Art Fair starting July 18th through the 21st. Come visit me there and I'll sign the book, or order the book from

It will also be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble in a few months and Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor starting July 20th.

Hope you like it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Outdoors Awaits...

After last year's record snowstorm the end of February and record cold temps in March, I was certainly surprised with this year's 80 degree average temperature in March. It's supposed to be the first day of Spring today and most of my flowering trees are already fully decked out in their lovely spring garments. But, I'm not complaining. I'm working really hard to find time to be outdoors before the bugs come and the temps are unbearably hot. These are precious days to a pleinair painter. I hope you are all planning a trip into the wondrous outdoors this weekend. I'm heading out today. The sun is magical, the temperature is perfect and we get very few gifts like this in Michigan. Blessings to you all!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Changing Times call for New Approaches to Marketing

If you make your living as an artist, as I do, you've probably seen a major change in the purchasing habits of Americans since the end of 2008. The last three years have been a challenge, to say the least. I've paid the bills OK, but pulled the belt tighter on dog treats, trips to the country and dinners out. And, the salvation army is getting fewer of my clothes, as I'm hanging onto the fashions a bit longer than usual...overlooking a frayed sleeve or balled sweater in favor of a thicker wallet.

In the past, I've been 99% commissioned as a painter. All of my work is paid for before I paint it. But, I'm getting fewer calls as our sluggish economy drags on with little recovery. So, the other day I decided that I needed to change my strategy. And I asked myself, "Where are the buyers of art going to buy art these days?" And that's when I decided to find out where the best art fairs in the nation were located. It turns out that Scottsdale, Arizona is a really hot art market...and that's not a bad place to be in February. So, I got my stuff together and was juried into the Waterfront Thunderbird Art show in Scottsdale, first art show ever. Then I borrowed a tent and displays and spent a month framing paintings..all the while crossing my fingers that this leap of faith would bring me the sales and exposure I've been hoping for.

Sometimes we have to do these take well planned leaps in the hopes of landing someplace we dream of being. I did it many years ago when I left the comfort of a job and started my own ad agency, then again when I started studying singing and then again when I starting singing professionally. Each time, I felt a sense of joy at the moment of the leap (mixed a little with fear) but never a sense of dread or of wanting to escape current circumstances. I feel that joy now as I prepare for this long trip across country with my paintings in tow. Images of hope and optimism fill the trailer and fuel my heart.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Social Outreach

This morning I stretched my social net--and took a chance. I find it's always difficult trying something new, particularly when it's public. I posted a video on of a project that I'm hoping can be funded with donations from my friends, family and as yet unknown patrons of the arts.

The link is:

I'd love your feedback on it and any support you can offer. At the moment, we only have $ I'm feeling a little dejected.

The mural project is for a wonderful school in south Phoenix that is in a Title 1 district. Title 1 is a federal grant program for improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged. If we get to our goal for funding, the mural will grace the walls of a new art corridor outside the school. These murals make an incredible impression on the kids as you can kind of see on the faces of the students from my past murals. I've done 25 of these in Michigan. This will be the first one in a school district that needs a little assistance in raising the funds.

I'm hoping we reach our goal by February 18th, I'll keep you posted!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Painting Bryce Canyon

The photo this painting is based on was taken during a semi-cloudy day in Bryce Canyon. Any day there is an extraordinary day. The rock colors are particularly difficult to capture. They change moment by moment as the light moves around them. In this painting I used a series of reds from warm to cool to show the subtle light play. The rocks with the most sun on them are the warmest, including the shadows. That is the most difficult concept to understand. The shadows are actually much warmer than normal. I believe this is due to the bounced light from the red rocks themselves. It's not apparent in the photo, as the camera tends to interpret shadow as a cool tone, but since I was there, I remember the colors vividly.

Using watercolors to depict reds can be challenging. The color rarely dries with the intensity that you intended, and placing a second coat on the painting often takes away the freshness. I found myself using colors directly out of the tubes for this painting. Colors like Scarlet Lake, Opera Rose and Vermilion were placed directly on the image and then I held my breath as they slowly lost some of their intensity. In some cases, I removed a tiny bit of the brilliance by placing a cool tone quickly over the top before it was completely dry, or I removed some of the color with a dry brush after the image had dried. I hope you like the results.

Painter and Classical Singer in Michigan

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