Category Archives: Life in the Studio

Sea Turtle Tuesday: Kris’ Turtle

Kris' Turtle Sometimes when I finish a turtle painting, I send out the image in a newsletter and say “name that turtle”, which can be done by simply purchasing the turtle! As did Kris in this situation!  Or make that Kris’ husband. Anyway, more about the painting.

She’s 36X36 acrylic on canvas.  I used a photo I had taken with my new camera that my new husband had given me for our first Christmas 6 years ago.  I was swimming north of Elbow Cay and this little critter came around, and STAYED around for about 10 minutes.  I snapped away.

I had intended to put a reef below, but decided to mottle the blues and suspend the turtle in “water”.  

Kris worked out a trade for the turtle.  I can’t tell you what because I swore to secrecy! But I think we both were happy.

Kris’ turtle is part of the new “Turtle Caboodle” which features 16 different turtles.

Kris is on a coffee cup.  Also, 5″ big dippers,  2.75″ little dippers and 5″ tidbits.  

And, of course, giclees.  Thanks for your interest!



Humongous painting Part 3: Wrap Up

NOTE:   This is Part 3…. catch up by reading parts 1 and 2 below!

It’s been a while, but thought I would wrap up the journey of the painting….   After composing and creating the painting in my mind, building the bars, laying it out on canvas (see parts 1 and 2), the rest was really a cake walk…. painting, adding fish and other creatures, actually putting my brain on “cruise control” and wondering four hours later if I had made any progress (Mark would point out to me that I did).  I took pictures along2013-06-14 15.58.44 (1) the way to make sure the composition was working together…. and printed out the pictures and taped them together:


So, after many hours of “filling in the blanks”, time for Mark to throw it over the balcony.  Let’s take a look at that WHOLE puppy for the first time:


FINALLY!!!! Communication from the client through the designer:   “He wants you to move the reef down.  He wants more blue water on top.”

HMMMMMMMM….  that’s an almost impossible request.  If I move the reef down, some parts of the painting will have to be removed, and now the composition will not work. What about that cool blue space I have in the upper center?  What to do, what to do? THANKS TO MARK’S FURLING EASEL, I unfurled a foot at the top and painted it blue!  The client gets another 12′ for free!  Just had to make sure he had enough space in his home for the extra head room:

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Ready to sign…


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and then it is rolled up (paint facing outside) in a tube, put in the Subaru and driven to Coconut Grove where the boys did a great job stretching: 

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2013-08-28 12.31.38 2013-08-28 12.33.09 2013-08-28 12.39.17 2013-08-28 12.43.11

 Then, into the big truck and on down to the Keys for the final approval.  Exact words of designer: Wow-art looks amazing! (WHEW!) 

2013-08-28 14.50.22 2013-08-28 14.50.58 2013-08-28 15.07.04(see how small the man is?)

Here’s a finished shot of the painting:  “The Ocean Reef” 11′ X 5.5′. Click on the image for purchasing info:


Ta Da:  In the home, framed. On to the next reef!

finished ocean reef


Keep watching for more stuff like this.



Humongous painting Part 2: just add paint.

A large canvas like this can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you can’t ever see the whole thing at once.  Working from my sketches, I started with the top of the reef, adding sections at a time.

Working my way down.
Working my way down.

Now, I get to add my favoritos: fish.

Plus Fish
Plus Fish

I’m thinking the first focal point will be the top of the water.  I want to my snappers to guide the viewers eye from the top of the painting, to the left, then again to the right, always heading downward.

I got to the bottom of things!
I got to the bottom of things!
Blocked bottom. (that's funny)
Blocked bottom. (that’s funny)

So, now all I have to do is fill in the blank space with reef and fish. I’ll go ahead and block out the bottom so I know where that is. My idea is to lay the viewer down on the sandy ocean bottom, and have them look up at the glorious living reef, and see the sun’s light coming in from above way up at the top.

Now I can really get down to painting.

I can just squeeze the paint out and start whaling.  (Is that how you spell it?  Maybe, wailing?)  All along the way I’ve inserted my sea creatures where they told me they wanted to go.  Notice the sea turtle, spade fish school, lionfish, Nassau grouper,  pair of angelfish and wrasses.  I’m sure there are a few more critters in there.  Meanwhile, I’m painting, painting, painting, almost in a daze.  Good thing I have lots of paint!  




 Here’s the TOP and BOTTOM, so far… put them together and that’s the whole painting:  10 feet by 5.5 feet. 

Back to the top
top part
bottom part
bottom part

Very soon, I am going to remove it from it’s contraption, hang it over the porch railing from upstairs, and see how it looks.

More to come.  It has been super fun so far!


Journey of the humoungous reef painting PART 1 (read all 3!)

How does one paint a commission… that is to be ten feet by four and a half feet wide?

First of all, you have to give it a lot of thought.  Figure out what you want the painting to be.

Then, go find reference material toward that end, sketch it out.

2013-06-03 11.50.34So, a giant reef, from the ocean floor looking up.  With lots of critters swimming in and out and around the corals. Continue reading Journey of the humoungous reef painting PART 1 (read all 3!)