28 December, 2008

Riverwalk at Night #5 SOLD

Another Riverwalk scene. This is a restaurant on the river with the diners by the river and the restaurant backlighting the scene. Jim had trouble figuring out what it depicted but I thought it was clear. Do you see the scene as I do or does it need more work? It is small. Just 5"x7".

21 December, 2008

Riverwalk at Night series

Here are two more Riverwalk at night paintings. I am in the happy position of running out of Riverwalk paintings as they are selling well at the River Art Group Gallery in La Villita. Am trying to get a few ahead so will do probably 3 or 4 more in this series. Looking forward to the New Year. I will be taking a workshop in Fredricksberg from an artist named Carolyn Anderson who I have long admired. Also will be having my one woman show at the Blue Star Brewery in the Blue Star Arts Complex the entire month of January. On Jan 20 we will be having a birthday bash for my significant other, Jim Mahaffey, at the Brewery. At 800pm the San Antonio Jazz Orchestra will play big band music written and/or arranged by Jim. We will have ice cream and cake and view the art work. Should be a great evening and you are all invited!

15 December, 2008

Riverwalk at Night #2 SOLD

This is a classic Riverwalk scene with the umbrellas all in a row. Hopefully the night time view is a little different. I sure am enjoying the reflective effects and the dramatic lights and darks. It is helping me to be more bold with my colors. Each painting is a lesson and a teacher in itself.

11 December, 2008

Riverwalk at Night SOLD

This is the first in a new series of Riverwalk at night paintings. I am looking forward to exploring the dramatic lights and darks that the night creates. I think it will be a fun series.

07 December, 2008

Portrait Comission

Back from Albuquerque and just finished up this portrait in pencil. I am trying a softer focus technique that I am liking alot. It is a looser approach and as I am trying to loosen up in my painting, the drawing is following suit. This one is due back in Albuquerque for Xmas. My portraits in pencil are $250.00 per face. I have done up to six people on one board as a family portrait. I just need a clear photo to work from. You can email me the photo as an attachment and I will print it out.
The painting is a new one in the Blue Star Brewery series. I call this one "Salt and Pepper". Have to stop doing the Brewery paintings until I paint some new Riverwalk works. My small Riverwalk paintings have been selling well at the River Art Group Gallery and I need to do some more!
PS- If you click on the portrait it will enlarge and you can see my pencil technique much more clearly.

17 November, 2008


This is too much fun. I am loving the night light and all the reflective colors. Maybe the night light makes you focus more I don't know. We have out of town guests next week and then take off for an Albuquerque Thanksgiving. The holidays have started and I still need to do some more Riverwalk small paintings as I have no more replacements for the River Art Group Gallery.

10 November, 2008

On Tap

What a great subject this Blue Star Brewery is. I love the low lighting and all the reflections of glass and metal. I am learning to simplify the shapes and the people. Clay Magaughy was in the frame shop the other day and we always talk about art and I always show him my latest work for a critique. He always has the best advice. He told me to keep my people in a scene like this very simple. That way the viewer can fill in the blanks. They can imagine themselves in the scene or friends they used to know or relatives--it opens up the meaning of the piece to many possibilities. I thought that was really good advice.
The color is not quite right on this photo. It should be more warm and orangey. Sometimes the camera does weird things and this was one of them. Anyway, come to my show at the Blue Star Brewery any time in January to see it for real!

01 November, 2008

Jazz and Beer SOLD

This is my latest Blue Star Brewery painting. I am loving this subject! Tomorrow I go to the River Art Group for my work day at La Villita. Am thrilled to say I have sold four paintings there this month and another sold through the frame shop. I imagine that with the economy as shaky as it is right now that there may be a slow down in art sales. I think we just have to have faith that people will always want and even need to have original and hand crafted items.

26 October, 2008

Blue Star Bar SOLD

I am very pleased with this painting. I did it in practically one sitting and forced myself to obscure the details and go for an atmospheric impression. I tried to just indicate details especially in the background. I did a pencil study first to make sure the design elements were there and lead your eye around the painting adequately. The pencil study always gives me confidence that the painting will work. Then it is up to me and the magic of color and brush to make it sing. This one is not perfect or anything but it does give a great impression of the interior over at the Blue Star Brewery.

13 October, 2008

Blue Star Brewery

I am much happier with this new Blue Star painting. The design is stronger and the color better and a better sense of atmosphere. Next I will try an interior scene. Had a great birthday--took my daughters and their partners to Cowboy's Dance Hall and introduced them to all our dance friends.

10 October, 2008

Reworked Brewery Painting

After I posted this painting I realized a big design problem. There were green clumps of foliage in each corner of the painting! So I redid a little--not so pleased but time to stop on this one. Sometimes it is just best to stop!
I had my first day with the River Art Group and have sold three paintings already this week. Today Jim and I took down three new paintings to replace the sold ones. Then we strolled on the Riverwalk and ate lunch. Such a beautiful day and also my birthday! I am getting old a dirt but still having fun!

04 October, 2008

Blue Star Brewery

This is my first Blue Star Brewery painting. I will be showing my paintings there for the entire month of January. I took lots of photos last week--interiors as well as exteriors. I mask off areas of the photos to get the best design posibility. Then I do a value drawing to establish the light and focal point. Sometimes I even run the photo through a computer program that gives me different color tints for the scene. Always my aim is to loosen up and make the painting "sing".

27 September, 2008

Riverwalk Loading Zone SOLD

I call this one Riverwalk Loading Zone-so much fun to paint. Had may first meeting with the River Art Group in La Villita. Nice group of people and I'm looking forward to being a part of the group. Also wanted to announce that I will be having a one-woman show at the Blue Star Brewery in the Blue Star Art Complex for the entire month of January. I am busy now working up Brewery paintings as it is a wonderful subject.

21 September, 2008

Barry Framing and Lake Painting

This is my second attempt at painting a lake scene to give to our friends in Guntersville Alabama as a thankyou for a fabulous weekend at their condo and a moonlight boatride on Lake Guntersville. I painted another lake scene and brought it to work at Barry Framing to shoot it in the frame. Sold it that very day and never even got a photo of it! Which has prompted me to write a special thankyou to Barry Framing. I have worked for Dan Barry and his frameshop at 5951 Broadway in Alamo Heights for 15 years now. Before I semi-retired, I managed the shop for 10 years. The shop has been a fabulous outlet for my art work and Dan has never charged me a penny commission. He is a special guy and runs a special business--we make sure you are happy when you walk out the door. Its as simple as that. The bottom line is that we have been framing for 38 years now. Please come see us!

12 September, 2008


A new Riverwalk painting. I am happy to be doing this subject again. I love the shapes and colors and shadows and seem to learn something new with each painting. The lesson here was not to be afraid of the dark and light contrasts--let them be your design!

09 September, 2008

Jamie's house

This is my friend Jamie Maverick's house in Fredricksburg. Last Spring she invited myself and a handful of other artist friends to a paint out at her home there. We had such a great day painting and eating her wonderful food. Clay McGaughy was one of the artists and he did a beautiful drawing of her backyard shed that I purchased and have in my bedroom. Her little house was so quaint and colorful, we all had the best time. I painted her kitchen window from the outside looking in and sold it right away.
Got some good news today. Have been accepted as a member of the River Art Group at La Villita. Can't wait to start selling my little Riverwalk paintings again. I think it will be a good venue for me and I only have to work there once a month.

05 September, 2008

Moon over Desdemona

This is the larger version of Moon over Desdemona that I painted for my friend so I could use her photo. The color just blew me away and I knew I had to paint it. That twilight time of day is so romantic and I loved the shape of the tree. I am becoming more and more enthralled with trees--the never ending variety of shape and color..

new paintings

I did this little pear on a plate right after I set up my still life box just to test it out. Since then I have been doing some landscapes but will return to the still lifes soon. I think one of the best things about being a "starving" artist is that you just follow your own muse and paint what speaks to that inner being-I guess your soul. So I do a still life then a landscape or what ever feels right to me at the time. Don't mean to get cheesy about it, but just discovered an artist that just blew me away. A customer brought one of his paintings to the frameshop and I was stunned with the color. His name is Jeremy Mann-California artist. Google his site-Fantastic!

30 August, 2008

Hill Country Road

I love the Texas hill country as we call it. This is just a roadside going towards Wimberly. Jim and I visited some lavendar farms there last spring. I did several paintings from those photos and sold both, but they were not any more beautiful than this simple view of a field and trees.

16 August, 2008

Portrait of Gaby

This is my other great neice, Gabriella Olives. I used an illustration board with a bit more tooth to it this time--can't say if I like it better. Usually I use a Crescent #301-very smooth. This one breaks up the graphitie more, but you get a softer look.

15 August, 2008

draped still life set up

Just realized that these posts will be kind of backwards. In other words what I posted first will be read after the second post--oh well--You can figure it out! So here is the set up with a drape that cuts out all the ambient light and shows how a clip on light can be moved from side to back or front since the box has no sides. If you want sides, you can insert a 2 sided back drop. This is useful for draping colored cloths.

still life device

Several artist friends have asked me to post my still life set-up. Its kind of hard to explain and the pictures say it all. After shopping around for a platform that would swivel and raise up and down-we finally cannabilized a garage work light that we found at Loew's for $35. On it we attached a box made from 2 24x24 squares of 1/4" plywood supported at each corner by a 24" dowel. The whole device cost about $50 and took an afternoon to build. As you can see by the reflections on the piece of glass that I placed on the floor of the box, there is alot of ambient light even in my little shot gun studio (my studio is a former balcony that we had enclosed). The whole idea for the device is so i could get truer light on my still lifes and elimimate the double shadows caused by too many light sources--outside light, overhead light and light directed where i paint. My inspiration was a device I saw on Carol Marine's blog so she has full credit or blame!

09 August, 2008

Kate's Portait

I am loving being semi-retired. Three days a week at the frame shop and then 4 days off to do as I please. Jim and I worked on a better still life setup for my studio and I will post photos of that soon. Just finished this portrait of my great-niece, Kate Heath, 2 years old. Have done portraits for years as gifts-especially wedding gifts and of course baby gifts, but i make the parents wait until the baby is at least 2 and has some personality. This little one is full of it--she's especially good at making dinosaur noises!

08 August, 2008

Aransas Sailboat SOLD

Just wanted to post this painting as I will be handing it over to the couple that commissioned it soon. They had a photo that they loved of the sailboat but I added the sunset for drama.

02 August, 2008

Desdemona Moonlight

Seems like we have been traveling all summer. Just got back from Jim's college jazz band reunion at Auburn University in Alabama. So great for him to see all his old friends. Of course they played three of his pieces at the concerts and that was wonderful too. If you like Big Band Jazz-go to Jim's web site--you can play all his pieces and even order a CD--http://www.jimmahaffey.com.

This little painting is my warm up piece to get back in the swing after all this vacationing! A friend of mine recently moved to Desdemona, Texas and took a photo from her deck at twilight. I just loved the colors and promised her a little painting if I could use it so here it is. Plan to do a bigger version later after I complete several more commissions I need to do. Two are portraits and others are landscapes--great to be home and busy!

06 July, 2008

Aransas Painting SOLD

This is a commission piece I have done for an Aransas condo. Trying to be more fearless with my color and execution and I like the effect. Have several more commisssions to work on so it is becoming a busy summer. Will leave for Albuquerque on Thursday to see my Mom and sisters. Just learned that my oldest son will be going to Iraq next month. He tells me not to worry as he won't be carrying a gun or knocking down doors. I will still worry.

30 June, 2008

Irish Castle Painting

We are back from our fabulous trip to Ireland and Scotland. Can't think of what I liked best--the people, the scenery, the weather, the history, the Guiness, or the Irish whiskey! Best part I guess was meeting such a great group of people from all over from Sri Lanka to Brazil to Nova Scotia, New Zealand and Australia. It was the trip of a lifetime and we enjoyed every second. I took over 400 pictures and have already started painting. First project was to paint a cover for Jim's new Southern Music release calle "Two British Folksongs". We've cheated a bit by using an Irish Castle but don't think anyone can tell the difference. Infact-there are so many castles laying about that they call them ABC--"Another Bloody Castle". I plan to get copies of this castle painting done on a nice card stock and send to each of our tour mates. This one is done I think.
Summer is turning out to be a traveling time. Am going to Albuquerque in July to visit family and then Jim and I go to Auburn Alabama for his college jazz band reunion in August. Plan to drive over to Jacksonville Florida to look at apartments as we are seriously thinking of renting an apartment there so we can go visit his kids more often and stay longer when we do visit.
Anyway it is good to be home.

01 June, 2008

Revised cowboy River walk is SOLD

Had to try a better background--still too timid-needs more interest. New Riverwalk scene is fine. Looking forward to being at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel on a regular basis after our Ireland Scotland trip.

30 May, 2008

cowboy portrait

Had to try one more portrait. I think my backgrounds are weak, but i get all excited about the face and then the background isn't so interesting. Yet in good portraits like Harley Brown--the background is part of the total design and of course makes the whole portrait so dynamic. We leave for two weeks in Ireland and Scotland next week so won't be posting for awhile. Plan to take a million pictures for paintings!

24 May, 2008

Dudash workshop

This is a portrait study i did after taking the Michael Dudash workshop at the Coppini last week. I had a terrible cold and felt pretty lousy during the workshop, but listened and watched and learned. I especially appreciated that he didn't have a "magic bullet" for making good art. It takes alot of work! My biggest lesson was to establish your lightest and darkest value from the very beginning. In his demos, he spent most of his time getting the right value and color relationships set. Then the drawing part and building of highlights went pretty fast on top of that basic design and value structure. It takes discipline to not plunge into the details too fast. I'm pretty happy with this painting and happy to see I have not lost my touch with the human face--just another set of shapes really.

11 May, 2008

Riverwalk and the City--SOLD

Happy Mother's Day all! Got together with my group--had to laugh as they came to my house and I cooked for them as always-some things never change, but what a great day we had. My oldest son is heading off for Fort Carson , Colorado for a new assignment with a communications squadron to support the Special Forces Unit at Ft. Carson. He is happy to be doing other than his last job which was as an recruiter. My beautiful daughters are doing great and my other son who suffers from schizophrenia is at least safe and physically healthy.
I had a happy reunion with Janice Yow Hindes last week and she has offered to reccomend me to Nanette Richardson Gallery here in San Antonio. After Jim and I get back from our dream trip to ireland and Scotland in June I definitely will be looking into that. Also plan to be painting more at the hotel lobbies of several wonderful Riverwalk hotels so will keep you posted on that. Right now I am excited about and looking forward to a workshop with C Michael Duddash at the Coppini Academy this next weekend. All is good and thanks to all for the positive comments on this blog.

04 May, 2008

sunlight and shadows SOLD

I am back to the Riverwalk--just love the light on the bridges and the lush foliage. Keep trying to simplify the shapes. Jim and I spent Friday walking the Riverwalk and taking pictures for new paintings. Am also going to do some more still lifes. Brought home a piece of glass to use for reflections which will open up a whole new area of design I think.

27 April, 2008

Ode to Carol Marine

This is the still life I decided to do--a 12x16. I'm calling it "Ode to Carol Marine" because I tried to emulate her style. She is a Painting a day artist who lives in Austin and does fabulous still life work. You can see and bid on her small daily paintings on EBay. I liked doing this one alot and plan to do more but hope that my own style will come through more--anyway it was a good exercise.

20 April, 2008

Maverick Plaza Fountain

Saturday at La Villita was pretty quiet, but lots of activity installing booths for NIOSA. One nice lady inquired about buying this Maverick Plaza Fountain painting so I promised to post it when it was finished and dry. It is $85.00 including the frame. Have to add $5.oo for mailing. She can leave me a comment or email to maclarkey@yahoo.com.
Have decided to do a still life next. I have done at least 10 of the small Riverwalk paintings and would like to do a larger format and different subject. Will see if what I have learned from the small paintings will translate-hope so.

14 April, 2008

Back from Albuquerque

Just got in from Albuquerque. Attended a surprise birthday party for my brother -in -law. He is dieing from a rare form of cancer but has outlived all predictions of his demise. I attribute it to excellent care through M. D.Anderson in Houston and also his remarkable wife-my younger sister and his remarkable children who arranged the entire party. All my sister had to do was get Michael out of the house for an hour. There were about 60 people there and some came from as far away as New York state and Minnesota! He is a well loved man.

So here is another Riverwalk painting--this one gets my vote for notecard status-what do you think?

07 April, 2008

more Riverwalk work-both are SOLD

Here are three more of the Riverwalk series. First one is of the entrance to Arneson Theatre. The second is just a bridge with the river barge under it and people getting on. The third one is an 8x8 instead of the usual 6x6 and is a view from the Arneson into La Villita. I like this one alot so took it to have a digital image made. Once I have 6 or so good images, I would like to have a series of prints made and maybe some notecards too.

30 March, 2008

Great Weekend SOLD

This week at the Susan Carlin Art studio and Gallery the weather was lovely and I sold two little Riverwalk paintings. This one that I am posting today was barely dry! I am really loving these little paintings. Like Carol Marine said in one of her blogs--the little size makes them less intimidating and you are more likely to experiment and try new things when a great amount of time is not invested. I am finding that to be true and feel like I am learning with every one of these little "experiments". And I will be doing more as I sold three more on Saturday afternoon when I painted in the lobby of the Westin Riverwalk Hotel. That is just a lovely venue and all the staff has made me feel very welcome. Hope I will be able to continue with that.

23 March, 2008

Riverwalk Pigeon SOLD

These pigeons are a constant presence on the Riverwalk. They are so used to people that they just move in after your meal and start enjoying your leavings! Maybe I'll call this one "Leave it to Me". I struggled with the darker values in this one but like the loosness of the objects--trying to keep the pigeon as the most realized object on the table!

17 March, 2008

La Villita Window

Spent Saturday afternoon at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel. I set up my french easel and painted this little painting of a shop window in La Villita. I was right in the lobby across from the courtesy coffee table so had lots of lookers. My favorites are always the kids. They are so in awe of an artist and so genuwine with their compliments. Also sold a small painting of Rosita's Bridge so was a fun day.

14 March, 2008

La Villita Fountain SOLD

I guess right now I am more of a one a week painter than a one a day painter.

I am still aiming to simpify and unify my paintings. The artists I most admire have these traits. Also keep working on stronger design--just keep working! Sometimes there is a passage in one of my paintings that I really like and so I try to build on that--little bit by little bit! In this one I like the light on the steps in the middle foreground, but am not happy with the tree foliage in the background--just keep working! Tomorrow I will be painting in the lobby of the Westin Riverwalk Hotel. I'll be working on a small painting of a window of a La Villita shop.