Monday, December 5, 2011

Ashanti session 2

A better photo will have to wait for the's tonight's portrait class result, the second session with Ashanti. This will be the last portrait class for me this year. What a wonderful time I've had in these classes, and how motivating they have been for me! Someday when this young lady (the model) is famous, this picture will be a collector's item. For me, a fantastic experience. Aloha!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011



One order of distraction....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tomorrow is another day...

Missed portrait class tonight...painting will have to wait until next week. A good reason to finally break out the sketchbook instead. And I had a great excuse to watch this fascinating documentary about art and Russia.

There are three parts (3 hours) and I could only watch 15 minutes (or less!) at a time, so it took all day. Thanks to James Gurney at for the link. He is always on the move, it seems, and he takes us with him on his blog journey.

Tomorrow, trying to quote Livingston Taylor in a favorite song, on the subject of
"building character, thank you please, no more character.
It's our turn to dance, our turn to sing...."  ....I love that line! Enough with the character building already...Aloha!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Next up, Ashanti

Starting a new portrait session in Tom Edgerton's class. Arrived late and left early but was pleased with this as a start. So nice that our model is very patient and managed to keep a slightly amused look...lovely to paint. Til next, Aloha!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Signs of November

I'm down a computer and a camera right now, as you can tell by recent pictures. Will replace them when I'm tech-sufficient again. So happy to paint tonight that I had to share. My good friend Karen was able to join me and the fun of friendship spilled right into the painting. Dried flowers, a favorite scarf and pine cones that the little one has been collecting...enjoying the autumn. Aloha!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Final session with Jean

Thought it would be fun to share some of the group's work and our lovely model. One very fine painting slipped out before I got this picture. Carol's painting on the middle left was done in this one session only and she made an outstanding portrait. Everyone got a lot out of these sessions, and thanks, as always to Tom.

On a personal note, have been feeling much better lately and hope to have more paintings up here in the future. The world has such beautiful colors in it this time of year and my heart's just singing. Here's to being...aloha!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Time for Turquoise

Session Two with Jean...everyone is so inspired by this model. I'm really looking forward to seeing the final paintings next week. With permission, I may try to post some some photos of the class. Jean was the first model I painted in Tom Edgerton's class, and the first painting I did with oils. Never made it past a very rudimentary sketch that go round. Feels like I've made some real progress since last spring, which is very motivating.

We were talking about turquoise a bit in class. There are some colors that are extremely difficult to mix from other colors, such that they still have intensity, and aren't dulled or gray. In my experience, purple can be one example, and turquoise is another. Sometimes it's better to have something that can be used straight out of the tube. So, glad I picked up some turquoise to try, recently, so I can play with it and try to understand how it mixes with other pigments.Love it. Aloha!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Made it to Portrait Class after all! Tonight was supposed to be having my head examined (literally) during the session, but the kind folks at Duke were able to do my MRI early, so I got to make it to a short session of class. Jean is a fantastic model, very elegant, and also a genuinely sweet person, so it's great to have a chance to paint her. Probably had about 1 and 1/2 hours in this effort, so far.

Also glad not to be having the MRI during the witching hours...I was pretty sure zombies were going to try to eat my brain if one was found. Hope your Halloween brought you some fun and some yum. Aloha!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quick Draw

Pete stepped in for the scheduled model tonight in Tom Edgerton's portrait class. This is the third painting I've done of Pete. Tonight was definitely a "quick draw" challenge! Two hours total. Had almost skipped tonight's session, but it was a good exercise with the time constraint, so glad it worked out. Aloha!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Here's to the power of paint

Will have to post better pictures of these paintings later (and do a little finishing work, too). But was happy to have these to share so posting them as they are...As for the power of paint, many of you know that the last month has been a challenge (!) for me, with 3 ER visits, etc, etc. And not much painting. But this week I was able to paint twice. Painting doesn't make me feel any better, but while I'm painting it doesn't matter how I feel...all the focus is on the canvas. And for that, I am grateful. And thank you, DDD, for everything.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Second Session

This is starting to have some likeness to it, although I feel like I am just barely breaking ground. Can't begin to express how much I miss painting between classes. Hoping to be back to a more regular paint schedule soon. Thanks for visiting as always. Aloha!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Back to the brushes

I promise this gal won't look so sad when it's done! She's a lovely model...the expression reflects me running out of time to paint tonight. It was wonderful to be painting again. Too many doctor visits and too much work lately to get in the studio and have been really missing it.

Thanks for comments and hugs and more hugs to all who have been so supportive and great friends in the last month. If there were but "world enough and time", surely I would find a way to show you all how much you mean to me. For now, Mahalo and Aloha!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back in the studio

Happy to be painting again after these past 2 weeks. Now we're heading into my favorite time of year...the days are so lovely that you feel you could wrap yourself in them...aloha!

Monday, August 29, 2011


Pete was the second model that I painted in Tom Edgerton's class, and now he's back for 4 sittings this time. So, I have a chance to see what I've learned (surely something!). He's wearing the same shirt, but I insisted we change the background this go-round. The purple was starting to wear me down a bit. Tonight, I took some time off painting to watch Tom paint...he makes it look easy, but it's not. I find that even with repetition, I still am only  beginning to hear what he's saying. If  I could only remember to tone a canvas before class!

No class next week, so maybe I'll have a chance to get back to the Daily Paintworks challenges....way behind on those! Aloha!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Only three sittings with this lovely model...not enough time to do her justice, but what a wonderful journey into portraiture I am having.  Tough to find the energy for painting after a long day at work, but I wouldn't miss it for anything. Aloha!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Old Story

This is a detail from a new large canvas, just starting the block in...not meant to be a pretty picture, but if truth is beauty, then I will give it all the beauty I can. Aloha, Friends

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lake Jeannette

Since Carol Marine has been inspiring me with her plein aire paintings, I got my motivation and my gear and headed outdoors to make her "birthday celebration" painting. Ran out of time and had to finish it (or muddle it up) in the studio. It was a challenging and fun.
Apologies for the poor quality photos...will have to replace some of these soon! Aloha!

Monday, August 15, 2011

More August Grace

Session 2 of the Portrait Blass with Tom Edgerton, for which I continue to be grateful. The last few weeks have been challenging on a personal level. Having these classes to look forward to really helps get me through the day. I did a plein aire today as well, but it needs some studio work before presentation. Aloha, Friends!

Monday, August 8, 2011

August Portrait

Well, I was late to class and interrupted several times, and couldn't ever get focused enough to get the drawing right...ah, well. I just called it paint therapy night and will hope to make more progress next week. Aloha!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Final Session July Portrait

Tonight was the fourth and last session with this model. She was a joy to paint and this was the first painting I've done with this much time, which was really satisfying. Aloha!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Heat of Things

The Daily Paintworks challenge for this past week was to do a plein-aire painting in one hour, with restrictions on the palette (3 colors and white) and brushes (3) and technique. Okay, fine, but the air quality is in the orange zone (very bad for me personally), and all my flowers are gone. So, I remembered the curbside cottage garden display that one of the neighbor's has always done (and where the sprinkler has been in regular use). Having the additional excuse of not being able to stand in the street to paint, I took pictures and then retreated to the studio. Then I followed the rest of the "rules". The painting is a little nicer than the photo of it, I think, with more blue-greens and a bit softer somehow. But I was grateful, as was the bumblebee, for the flowers. Aloha!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Portrait Session 3

The third session for this sitter. Smaller brushes, more subtle changes...stay tuned for the final next week. Aloha!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eating Happiness, Detail

" Happiness hit her like a train on a track"....

The Dog Days are Over, by Florence and the Machine

This was started when the peony bloomed for the first time in a completely unexpected over-the-top, magnificent, stunning way. The song that was running through my mind and the peony came together in this painting.

But the the blocked-in sketch of a painting just stood there in the corner, not knowing if it would just be painted over or live. And then, the Daily Paintworks Challenge said paint the music...and it had to be finished, it had to be done.     

strange lyrics, strange song, strange painting. Why not? Aloha!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ta Da!

I have been waiting all year to paint plums! Entering this in the Daily Paintworks Challenge on Reflections...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Portrait Continued

Very little chance to paint this week, except for portrait class. Can't wait until next week...finally a chance for more than one or two sessions with the same model.

Have missed the painting and the blog lately. This week I had the unfortunate excuse of a minor head injury (nothing serious, just painful). Lightning took out the feels like near-miss week! Well, still thinking about painting even when I'm not doing it, and that actually keeps the learning process going. At any rate, I think my aim is getting better. Now, if I can only learn to dodge. Aloha!

Monday, July 11, 2011

New portrait session

Have been reading The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen today....and recognizing others in it and myself, so perhaps it's the right thing to be reading. Much of it is about leading a contemplative life, something I sometimes lament that I never have the chance to do. But lately, I have been taking time for just that. And then wondering if it's really necessary to feel guilty about it. Painting is a form of contemplation, but very much with a different part of the brain....maybe it's good to let both sides take a break. Aloha!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What I paint with

There was only one answer to the recent Daily Paintworks Challenge for me...although if I had more time, I might have tried to sneak an occipital cortex in!

You don't need any fancy paintbrushes...just some pigment and paper, go for it! Aloha!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Fourth

Just in time for a Fourth of July delivery, the fourth of the siblings. This little guy was the wiggliest of all, and the tilted head is very characteristic. Hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday! Aloha!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The rough block in for one that was started a while back ...a tiny bit of progress. The doors are all wonky...clearly I am not the one who maps everything out from the beginning. Not to worry! They'll settle into place. When I mentioned the possibility of a new series, this is it. Way past time to crash tonight. Aloha!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quick note...eBay auctions

New auctions starting for several paintings on eBay...and will post more this week when I have a chance. Daily Paintworks now has a gallery of my work available for viewing and has links to the auctions from that site, which might make them easier to find. Go to Daily Paintworks (see the link over on the right) and search Artist List for Melle Ferre (I think they are shown in alphabetical order by last name, usually). Just click on "gallery" and the painting you might be interested in for a closer view. If your searching in eBay, look for Melle Ferre, which is in the listing title for each.

Someday, I'll get it all seamlessly integrated with the website and the blog gallery, etc! Hopefully, this is fairly straightforward for now. Thanks for visiting! aloha!

The Old Grind


An old mill painting for the Daily Paintworks Challenge. First chance I've had to paint in over a week...hence the title of this post. Makes me feel like a stranger in my own life, when in work, work, work survival mode. This may not be finished yet, but wanted to get back to the blog.

So, trying to get all the chores done and find my way back to painting. Continuing to experiment with different surfaces; this is gessoed art board. Probably would sand this a bit to a least get some tooth to it, in the future. It's a bit like painting on glass. This challenge was fun, but makes me very keen to get out and try the lightweight easel I got to try more plein aire work. Aloha!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Turn, turn, turn

Here we are turning into the summer season, and the Daily Paintworks Challenge is to turn our artwork upside down. This was painted from the posted image, which I cropped pretty heavily and painted entirely upside down. I love the mystery that exists in every fraction of the world at all times and that is what this image spoke to me about. It reminds me of the Quaker song "Simple Gifts"..."to turn, turn will be our delight, 'til by turning, turning, we come 'round right."   Aloha...

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Soft Place

Inspired by the Princess and the Pea story...and answer to the Daily Paintworks challenge. This looks comfy, if a bit precarious. Lots of work during the next week, so may be some down time for the blog. Mahalo, Friends...Thank you and Aloha!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Backyard Painting

This is one I'm still working on...A Daily Paintworks Challenge, but since I had been wanting to paint this view I did it large, so not a quick study. Hope to finish it soon! Aloha!

Wedding Wine


This is a present (along with the wine!) for a young couple getting married this's pouring rain right now, so not sure what will happen to their garden wedding. No matter...they will have lots of good wishes pouring their way. Best wishes for a loving future! Aloha!

p.s. the inspiration for this came to me when I saw a photo of the bride-to-be in her dress and it reminded me of Sadie Valeri's paintings...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

One more...

Still under the weather, but after sleeping a good part of the day, got up and spent a few minutes making some final touches to this, the eldest of the gang of four. The painting isn't quite this red, but this photo is the best I can do this evening. Hope you're all well, and if not, that there's someone there for you. Thanks, Mom...time for me to go collapse. Aloha!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Friends, not able to post much right now...worked overtime this past week, and now the flu or some such is visiting the house, so will post again as soon as possible. In the meantime, here's a valuable and inspiring blog you might enjoy. Lots of coverage of the Portrait Society of America's recent meeting. Thanks for visiting and talk soon. Aloha!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Long days

Limited painting time...trying to finish recent floral/window scene, so not posting a new painting today. However, our new goldfish friends reminded me of this painting, so thought I'd share it. When I was painting it, I was thinking about the Zen idea of a goldfish being perfectly balanced and able to move in any direction instantly, as needed. It's very soothing to watch them...they do seem to embody the idea of here and now. Aloha!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Two Heads are better than none.

Or is it tow-heads? Here's two of the four siblings...a big thank-you goes out for permission to post. These are small 8 x 8 inch oil on paper paintings. In all except the littlest (the girl here), I was able to do at least a sketch, and in the two oldest was able to do an initial painting "sketch" from life. Still some painting left to do on the others, so will post later this week, if time allows. Thanks to the kids for posing! Aloha...

Memorial Day

This painting was done after September 11, 2001 and is called Releasing of Souls. Today is the day to remember and to honor all those who have given of themselves, and their lives with us, for us. We spent Memorial Day, casually and happily,  in the presence of servicemen and women and their families. Having grown up in a military family,  I am grateful always, and remember always, the sacrifice they are prepared to make, and that they do make, daily.

Also on Monday, I had the special pleasure of painting four siblings, separately, all of them with their family resemblance, but entirely unique. It was great fun spending the time with them, and trying to portray something of their characters. We'll have to see about permission to post the images, but thought I'd share the experience. Hope I'll have the opportunity to paint them again someday.  Aloha!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

More Gifts

Today's painting is still in the the block-in stage...I've been wanting to paint this scene, and it finally came into being today, thanks to the oak leaf hydrangea blooming in the far back yard and the enthusiasm of my little one. Lots of lovely views at the Sedgefield Stable Horse Show today, also. If you're in the area tomorrow, you may want to go see! Great sights in all directions, and a very relaxing atmosphere. Did I mention the homemade ice cream?

Seems I've started a lot of paintings lately, and am going to have to limit myself to finishing some in the next two weeks....wish me luck. Aloha!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Learning from Before

Of course most artists copy the works of others as part of their "learning process" least that's the story. Really, it's about love! You love it, you paint it, and then you know it. Painting is an intimate act of knowing. Thinking along these lines reminds me of the quote....

“In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” Baba Dioum 1937.  

Well, I think we sometimes learn to understand that which we love, whether taught by others or by experience or by reflection. Knowing, loving, and understanding all go together. This painting is "after" Kandinsky's Marienplatz...and it was in the painting of my version that I came to care for it and to "get" it. I've heard various people claim to not even see art, as though it were so much background; it's invisible to them. I didn't "get" Picasso until I forced myself (quite literally) to slow down and look and look and look again at books full of reproductions. Suddenly, one day, my brain flipped a switch. I got it. Vision happens in the occipital cortex, not in the eyes. It's a great place to be...hope you enjoy. Aloha...

Studio Orange

Maybe nothing rhymes with oranges, but peaches seemed to go with them. Painted entirely from life, with lots of detail, which makes it more of a "miniature", rather than a just a quick study...... a bit "paintstaking" to do! On clayboard support, 5 x 7 inches.

 Also orange are the latest pet members of the family. We now have two goldfish, who very nearly didn't survive the new tank set-up. Had some panicked water adjustments and our little friends have decided to stay, in all their splendid colors of gold, black and white. Hoping they will return to some of the previous attractiveness, so they will be comfortable posing. Aloha!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All Clean

Spent several hours in the studio today, doing everything except painting...cleaned, organized, and tackled paperwork. That gave me room for a still-life setting that's out of the way, finally. So, that became the afternoon's painting subject, on the new clayboard that I'm trying. Will post a photo of the painting as soon as I can get one...Aloha!

In the Works

Lots of new works started today...a new portrait in class, with such a great model that I am really looking forward to next week (thank you, Heather). Then, stuck my toes in the water on another project: a set of family portraits that have been pending for a while. Trying some new things, I did two 5 x 7 sketches in sepia ink, on clayboard instead of stretched canvas.

Then started in on a new painting whose subject has been so insistent on emerging the last two months, that I think I may end up with my first series...of sheep. Reminds me of the little lamb I raised from Day One....nothing could get your attention like that bleating! Aloha, Friends!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Little Peace

Lots of Wild Things running around today, so it was nice to have a little quiet time this morning at Meeting. Outside, this perfect magnolia blossom presented itself, almost inviting contemplation. Have been thinking about Georgia O'Keeffe a lot lately, so this painting is my taking time to look, really look, at a flower, and then paint it.

This is the first monochrome value study/underpainting that I've tried, for the Daily Paintworks Challenge this week. The entire painting is Burnt Umber and ...nothing! For now, that is. Back to the Wild Things! Aloha...

Afternoon Walk

After such a lovely day, this afternoon's walk motivated me to head back to the studio for part two of the German Landscape Challenge from DPW. At 16 x 20 inches, this painting is much larger than the little one I did for the first image, and I have to say it was a lot more fun to fly the brush around a bit.

 Had wanted to post before midnight (since I painted this on Saturday), but I love my new Turtlewood Palette so much that I take very good care of it, and had to clean everything up first. Try one of these palettes if you get a chance at Handmade in Tennessee, light as a feather, with all kinds of room to mix. And your hand will still work after painting. Aloha!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Street Party!

The original painting...and today got the disc and cover.  I was listening to the rough cut while painting, and have to say the final version is great! Have a listen ( crank it up for your next party, even if it's just you and the cat (hey, it works for me).

Working on this week's portrait...all the light disappeared, so putting it back! Just to share for those who haven't taken up a paintbrush (yet?)...the paint really changes as it dries sometimes (but not all throughout or in the same degree, depending on the pigment). All part of the dance. Aloha!