Sunday, December 28, 2008

Feast of the Holy Family

"St. Joseph and Jesus Devotional, Cathedrale Saint-Sauveur, 
Aix en Provence," 1  3/8" x 1  15/16"  egg tempera on vellum, 
(in progress)

Although I am not Catholic, I believe in certain Catholic traditions, such as the saints, and how they can help us.  I have been working on this miniature since before Christmas, and in Catholic tradition, today is the "Feast of the Holy Family," so it feels like the perfect time to post my progress on Joseph and Jesus.  As a Patron Saint, home and family are Joseph's realm.

The subject for this painting is a lovely devotional statue I photographed at historic Holy Saviour Cathedral in Aix en Provence during my stay in southern France.  I love the feeling of intimacy and the preciousness of the baby Jesus in this particular statue, and found it very inspiring to paint.  It was also special that someone had placed a real green branch upon the figures.  I plan to fine-tune this one further.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I am visiting with family and since I left with a painting in progress, I will post my second Holy Family painting of Joseph and Jesus later in the week. On Christmas Eve I am thankful for the blessings I have received from all of you who have enjoyed my blog art. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

My Grandma Conner, the other artist in my family

My studio

I've been tagged by a great artist, Edward Burton
Be sure to check out Ed's holiday sale.  I was impressed by a saw he painted, (his 10/5/08 post), and he paints murals too.

I'm sorry it took me a few days to follow through on this, but I've been looking forward to it.  This 'game' is a fun way to find and get to know great blogger friends in art.  The rules of this game are:

1. (List the rules) and put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you. 
2. List 7 unusual things or little known facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 talented bloggers at the end of your post, linking their names in your post and commenting on their blogs to let them know.  (If you are tired of tag, no pressure of course.)

So here it goes:
1.  I paint tiny, but also huge.  I've done two ceiling murals in my Brooklyn apartment, and one is a mural of a Holy Spirit Dove directly above the area where I sit and paint (see my studio pictured above)
2.  I once managed to catch my lip in a suitcase lid (but hey, only once!)
3.  I like to do shellcraft.  See the photo of my Grandma above with a frame I shelled.
4.  In art school I purchased a used oak drawing table for $25 from a fellow student, and I have painted at this table ever since, (except when using an easel.)  
5.  I love mangoes, my favorite fruit.  I promise to paint them too.
6.  As a kid, after being exposed to lots of John Wayne movies thanks to my Dad, I refined an imitation of the 'John Wayne walk'.  How did it get seen by Nathan Lane is what I can't figure out!
7.  In my spare time I do hands-on healing.

I am tagging the following 7 people (the first 2 in 'tribute'):
1. E.V. "Peg" Conner, my Grandmother.  My most significant artist mentor, she worked very hard so I would have better chances in life, than she did, to pursue my artistic dreams.
2.  Robert Weaver, a great artist/mentor who was my inspiration for learning egg tempera.
There are so many great blog artists to tag, but just for starters, here are five people I highly respect and recommend a look at (comments not required, but I added a few notes):
great spontaneous watercolors
Paintings From the Point is so mysterious I want to know more
rich color and fine application of paint
Abbey loves the Jersey shore and so do I, plus what talent
diversity is her forte and I enjoy diversity in my creativity also

I list also the following people who inspired me to start my blog (see their links to the right):
Julian Merrow-Smith
Duane Keiser
Karin Jurick
Mick McGinty
Michael Naples

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Inmost Love--The Expansion Votive"

(click on the art for a larger view)
"Inmost Love--the Expansion Votive," 6" x 8", small work oil painting
on gessoed board, framed under glass.  

I painted this from photos I took inside the old chapel at San Juan Capistrano Mission of a red votive candle I lit during my visit.  The title comes from my feeling that when a candle is lighted for prayer, it's a two-way expansion:   it expands God's love for our prayers and mutually expands our inmost love--our love for God. I recommend a visit to San Juan Capistrano if you have the opportunity to visit southern California.  It is one of the most beautiful and interesting missions I have seen.  Stay tuned also for another daily painting I will be posting very shortly.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I am so sorry for not posting over the past two weeks. Initially I took a few days off to rest from the three months of show preparation and to work on updating some of my bio material, however, last week I got sick while in PA for Thanksgiving, and it delayed my return. I plan to return home tonight, and hope have things in motion again over the next few days, so please stay tuned for some new daily paintings for sale!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Avalon Madonna With Yellow Flowers"

1 7/8" x 2 5/8", egg tempera miniature on vellum, Available

I have softened and fine-tuned "Avalon Madonna With Yellow Flowers."  Here it is in it's frame, the last of five miniatures I sent to Weatherburn Gallery  for "It's a Small World---World Class Art in Miniature."  This very special miniature show in Naples, Florida runs from Nov. 29 through December 22, 2008. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

"The Bluebird of Happiness," All Decked Out

1" x 1  5/8", egg tempera miniature on vellum with artist hand-painted matt, Available

Remember the "The Bluebird of Happiness?" 
Here it is, revised and all decked out with a vellum matt I hand-painted,
in a small Venetian glass mosaic frame.  "Bluebird" will appear at the 
Weatherburn Gallery in Naples, Florida, along with the other miniature paintings I prepared for "It's a Small World----World Class Art in Miniature."  It's a very elegant venue, and I am thrilled to be part of this show.

Painting all those tiny dots on the vellum matt surrounding the bird, took practice to match them for size and shape at this tiny scale.  If you remember, the bluebird in this painting measures 3/8 of an inch.  The bluebird I painted it from was a small blown glass bluebird my mother gave me inscribed with 'Bluebird of Happiness' on it's bottom. 

Tomorrow I will post the last of the five paintings I sent to Weatherburn Gallery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Royal Carribean Ship Flag"

"Royal Carribean Ship Flag," 2 1/2" x 3 1/8"
egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum, Available 

My scanner, (which I've come to realize I can't live without!) broke down in the middle of a show shipment, but finally here is my other ship flag. I took the reference photos for this painting on a wonderful Carribean cruise in 2006 with my sister Peggy's family on our last day on "Adventure of the Seas" as we pulled into the home port in Puerto Rico. We sat in the picture window area of the lunch room looking right out on this flag, and it was a sparkling water crystal clear day. My artistic friend Sarah Nunez from El Pollo here in Brooklyn especially liked the photo of this flag and thought it would make a great miniature. I think she was right.

My two flag paintings will be on sale at Francesca Anderson Fine Art for a great show, "Almost Miniatures," from November 20 through January 17, in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Ship Flag, Star of India"

"Ship's U.S. Flag, Star of India," 7" x 9" egg tempera on panel, Available

Although a small work is not an authentic miniature, this small work painting is the first of two flag paintings I've been working on for "Almost Miniatures" at Francesca Anderson Fine Art in Lexington, MA., a show of both miniatures and small works.  I am doing one of each for this show.

Just an announcement also that in mid-Nov. I will be able to return to posting miniatures daily. Some of these will be selling via eBay auction, and others will be sold directly from this blog via 'buy it' buttons.   I'm grateful for your patience in the meantime while I complete my preparations for the two remaining shows I am submitting work for.  Over the next two weeks I will continue to post updates on my show progress.

Ships' Flags, a preliminary look at the second flag

Just a heads up that I will be posting later tonight the first of two ships' flags paintings, a small work of an American flag that I am sending to the Francesca Anderson gallery this week for their upcoming show, "Almost Miniatures." 

But first, here is a preliminary look at my reference photos for the second flag I am painting, a Royal Carribean ship flag from the ship, "Adventure of the Seas."  For my miniature painting of this flag I am combining the flag in the top reference with the water in the second reference.  More on this one later this week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Erlise is a Winner

"Erlise's Laugh"  3" x 3 13/16", egg tempera on panel, NFS

I was truly delighted to find out tonight that "Erlise's Laugh" won Second Prize in the category of 'Human Figure' in the Miniature Art Society of Florida 2009 Annual Show

It's my first win for this category.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"The Bluebird of Happiness"

"The Blue Bird of Happiness", 3/4" x 3/4"
egg tempera on vellum, (revised in a later post, 11/17)

Shown with a penny for scale, here is the tiniest Bluebird of Happiness I have ever painted.  
It's my smallest miniature ever.  The bird itself measures 3/8 of an inch in height.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Erlise's Laugh"

3" x 3  13/16", egg tempera on panel

Household member, Erlise, is much beloved by my sister's family.  I did this miniature as a tribute to Erlise for all that she has done for my sister and her family over the years.  Thank you Erlise! 

Erlise has the most delightful, musical laugh I have ever heard---hence the title, "Erlise's Laugh."  This portrait has been sent to the MASF competition, and will eventually go to my sister's family to either keep or give to Erlise.

"L'madone et l'Enfant de Remy de Saint" (Madonna & Child of Saint Remy)

4  3/16" x 5  13/16", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum, 
(at Dunedin Fine Arts Center in Dunedin, Florida
for the MASF 2009 Annual International Miniature Art Show)

Here is the final version of "Madonna and Child of Saint Remy."  I titled this in French because I found my inspiration for this painting during my trip to France, when our guide gave us some time to explore Saint Remy by ourselves.  I took a walk on my own and discovered a small cathedral called St. Martin's, with many beautiful devotional statues.  It was very dark inside, and I couldn't believe I was alone in such a beautiful place.  I felt so blessed to find this life-sized Madonna and Child dressed in gold, and knew then that I would want to paint my own version.

This got sent out for the MASF show in a lovely gold frame.  Framing is part of the jurying process in this particular miniature competition.  Certain specifications and guidelines must be followed, and I'll discuss more about framing for competition in a future post.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Just Peachy", Framed

"Just Peachy", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum,
(at Dunedin Fine Arts Center in Dunedin, Florida, for the 
MASF 2009 Annual International Miniature Art Show)

I promised to post a copy of "Just Peachy" in its frame, and here it is.  It is being submitted for the Miniature Art Society of Florida show.  I'll be posting other final entries for the MASF show shortly, and then it's on to the next show!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Refining "Just Peachy"

"Just Peachy", 1  3/4" x 1  1/4", 
egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

An earlier dailywork, "Just Peachy" has been refined and developed 
into a masterwork so that I can submit it as a still-life painting for the MASF show competition.  I have the perfect frame for it, and if time permits I hope to scan it framed to show you how it looks before I send it out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Madonna and Child of St. Remy" Step 3, & Frame Shopping

4" x 6", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

Now nearing completion, I have been working toward portraying a feeling of a living Mary and baby Jesus in this painting instead of just replicating the devotional statue.  Not an easy task, since my reference is somewhat 'doll-like', but it feels important to try.  I darkened the background further, and have started to create a slight feeling of an aura around Mary.

Last week I also went frame shopping, and here are some of the miniature frames I have chosen for my general use:

(detail of Venetian glass floral mosaic frames)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Madonna and Child, Saint-Remy, Step 2

4" x 6", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum (in progress)

When I work on an image of Mary, I call upon her in prayers, 
as part of my effort to capture her spirit in paint.  The same is true of Jesus as a baby.  The painting has been going very smoothly, and I have been meditating also on the gold of the dress, which I feel makes this Madonna particularly special.  I really enjoyed capturing the lights and colors within the gold. Another darker blue layer has been added to the background to increase the contrast and bring the figures out more. 

Next I will go back to the faces, hands and flesh tones to fine-tune them some more.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lynn & Kristy

Kristy (hand at lower left) making a wish 
& sending off her balloons

Kristy & Lynn, Washington Square Park

It was very special for me to have a visit this past week from my cousin, Lynn, especially since we haven't seen each other for 21 years!  She came to NYC with one of her daughters, Kristy, to celebrate Kristy's 16th birthday.  We had fun, and before our celebration lunch I treated Kristy to a balloon launch for turning 16.  Thanks for coming all the way from Utah, Lynn.  Loved having you here.

I will return to the portrait soon.  I've been working several days on another miniature I started.  It's elaborate, but I'll post my progress on it tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Portrait, Step 2

3" x 3 13/16", egg tempera on panel (in progress)

Here is the portrait after further work.  I may want to use this one as an entry for the MASF show, so I am working it through to see how I like it.  Next I will bring more definition to certain areas, such as the lips and teeth, and some objects on the counter; but I need a day to allow the layers I have applied to dry thoroughly before further work, so I will start another piece today, and come back to this one tomorrow.

I will post some photos of my work process later, but when I am working on tiny aspects of a miniature, such as facial features, I use a gooseneck magnifier to better see what I am doing.  
This is a good idea not only because I need to position fine details, but because during the judging in competitive miniature shows, a magnifying glass is held up to the work for greater
scrutiny of the brushwork.

I am looking forward to sharing my story about this portrait with you once it is finished. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How a miniature looks, mid-process

3" x 3  13/16", egg tempera on panel (in progress)

Here is a mini in egg tempera on panel that I am working on, to show you how it looks at a mid-stage of the painting process.  By this time I have put down several layers of paint. Some areas are more worked up than others, but overall I am still blocking in color and values.  Egg tempera paint is uniquely translucent, so in working with it I create color and value by building thin layers of paint on top of each other, alternately glazing and scumbling areas as I go.  I will post the final version of this painting later.  Along the way I'll describe more about how I work with egg tempera, but in the meantime a great resource of information about this wonderful painting medium is to be found here:  Society of Tempera Painters

For the next three weeks, I'll be posting my progress on preparing miniatures for three gallery shows.  First is the Miniature Art Society of Florida annual show, but since I am preparing simultaneously for three shows, expect announcements as I go over which painting will be directed toward a specific show.  Every other day or so I will be sharing with you how I prepare, from selecting subject matter and painting surfaces, to deciding, the case of MASF, what passes muster for competition.  If it sounds intensive preparing for three shows, it is!  But I love doing it, feel grateful for the opportunities I am being given, and I hope it brings some inspiration, just by sharing it with you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Two September Berries"

1" x 1", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum
dailywork miniature - Happy Birthday Hilda!

My sister's mother-in-law, Hilda, and I have the same birthday on Sept. 7.  This year Hilda is visiting from Barcelona, and we were both treated to a wonderful birthday dinner at Sequoia on Pier 17 in Manhattan, which overlooks Brooklyn's skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge.  Today's miniature is Hilda's birthday present.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two pet portraits, both 1/6th scale, but are they both miniatures?

"Jack", 1  3/16" x 1  1/16" (nfs)
egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

"Max with Cosmos"  7" x 9"
egg tempera and oil on panel (commission)

Here is a comparative example of two pet portraits.  "Jack" is a portrait 
I painted in just a few hours today.  It has less detail.  
But click on the second portrait to see the greater detail in Max.  
The first is a dailywork; the second is a masterwork.

The dogs in both of these paintings are portrayed at least 1/6th of life scale, but are both miniature paintings?  If you know the answer, please submit your comment.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Avalon Madonna of the Yellow Flowers"

1 3/4" x 2 5/8", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum*
(see my note below on this English vellum painting surface)
(see my update on this painting in a later post on 11/18/08)

Every summer I spend some time at the seashore in Avalon, N.J.  Summer vacation in Avalon was a family tradition for my family and for my father's family, and it is a quiet place where I can truly restore my soul.  Last year while there, my mother and I discovered this wonderful Madonna statue which stands in front of Maris Stella Catholic Church.  
I feel pleased with the mood this painting evokes, and feel satisfied with it as a dailywork, but haven't decided yet if I'll keep going with this one for a competition, or sell it as a daily.  Will post more on it when I know for sure.  I plan at least two more miniatures of this Madonna because I enjoy her so much.

* More about Kelmscott vellum:  Because I teach about what I do when asked to give a lecture or workshop, one of my goals with this blog is to share information with others interested in learning more about miniature painting and egg tempera as a medium.  For painting smaller miniatures my surface of choice is a special variety of vellum obtainable in small sheets only from England.  (If you know of any U.S.A. resource, please email me.)  Kelmscott vellum is genuine calf skin vellum that is coated with some type of thin gesso coating that has a little dusty feel on top.  If you get the surface too wet when you paint, this gesso picks up a little bit, but overall, there is no finer or smoother surface that I know of for luminous miniature paintings, whether in egg tempera, or watercolor, or a combination of both.  Here is a link to my resource for Kelmscott vellum: Polymers Plus also features exquisite miniature frames for framing the miniatures in your collection.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"Just Peachy"

1 5/8" x 1 1/8", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum, 
dailywork miniature, (revised in a later post on 10/8/08 & 10/15/08 )

I really enjoyed painting the highlights on the teal satin in this piece, especially since teal is a favorite color of mine! 

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Difference Between a Miniature and a Small Work

"San Diego Freedom Flag," 4" x 6", 
egg tempera masterwork miniature on Kelmscott vellum - SOLD
Masterwork miniature, Third Prize for medium, MASF 2008 annual show
a small work of the same flag with a cloudless sky 
7" x 9" egg tempera on panel, masterwork (in progress)

Do you know the difference between a miniature and a small work?  Shown first is my miniature painting called "San Diego Freedom Flag," which is now in the collection of Joan Christie.  The second piece is an example of a "small work" in progress which I am preparing for a show called "Almost Miniatures" at Francesca Anderson Gallery in Lexington, MA .  

One of my goals with this blog is to share information about miniature painting and about the definition of a miniature, since currently there exists some confusion about appropriate use of the term 'miniature'.  The "Almost Miniatures" show will feature an interesting mix of both miniature paintings and small work paintings.  A small work differs from a miniature in that it does not necessarily portray a subject at 1/6th scale of life size, and its format is small, but still larger than 25 inches square, which typifies a mini.  A small work will generally range from 5 in. x 7 in. to 12 in. x 12 in.  For more information on how various miniature painting societies around the globe define the parameters of a miniature, please click here.

I am progressing on several miniatures, and hope to post at least two of these tomorrow.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Different Strokes From Different Folks: Check it out, it's new!

"Solace" by Karin Jurick

Please be sure to check out daily painter and professional artist Karin Jurick's new blog, "Different Strokes From Different Folks - One Photograph Painted by Many," which you can access from her blog site,  Karin's beloved dog, Jack, who passed away this week, inspired this wonderful daily painting of Jack by Karin.  Her reference became the photo of the week on her newest blog challenging everyone else to paint Jack too, and submit their jpeg for posting on Different Strokes.  I did it too, and I plan another miniature version of Jack in the week ahead.  If you have appreciated Karin, and received inspiration from her wonderful daily answers over the past three years in paint, please consider joining in the fun of this first weekly challenge of painting Jack too.  I'd love to see at least 30 or 40 paintings of Jack come Karin's way!  

Future French Madonna

Important work is taking place in my studio this month in preparation for the Miniature Society of Florida 2009 annual show competition.  Check back later to see my miniature painting from this photo of a lovely gold Madonna, taken in St. Remy during my trip to France in April.

"Amma's Eyes"

1 3/8"W x 1 3/4"H, egg tempera and 24 karat gold leaf on Kelmscott vellum in Venetian glass frame, Available

This is an eye portrait of a world-famous Indian guru and avatar who I love and admire, Amritanandamayi Ma, known as 'Ammachi', or 'Amma'.  Jai Ma! (hail to the Divine Mother!) This is the third of three masterwork miniatures I am sending to Weatherburn Gallery for "It's a Small World - World Class Art in Miniature."  Please contact Weatherburn Gallery directly for purchase information.

"The 'Mary' in Karen"

6"W x 4"H, egg tempera on gessoed panel, Available
Third Prize, Miniature Art Society of Florida 2006 Annual Show

Here is the second of three miniature paintings being sent to Weatherburn Gallery for sale.

"Ruby Slipper Wishing Shoes in the Ship's Casino"

3/4"W x 1 3/8"H, egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum in Venetian glass frame, Available

Here is the first of three miniatures I am sending to Weatherburn Gallery in Naples, Florida for inclusion in "It's a Small World - World Class Art in Miniature," Nov. 29 through Dec. 22, 2008 featuring award winning artists from the Miniature Art Society of Florida.