Friday, June 26, 2009

Fourth of July Painting

Welcome and Happy Fourth of July. One of my good customers lives on Balboa Island and commissioned me to paint a "summer" painting for her home. She loves red, roses, sunflowers, flags and summer porch living on the island. Put on your walking shoes and join me and Bentley for a little walking tour of Balboa Island looking for summer inspirations for the painting.

Bentley my "studio assistant" is anxious to get started.

Balboa Island is one of my favorite places to walk Bentley looking for inspiration for my art. It is a small island on the Newport Bay located about half a mile from the beautiful Pacific Ocean in Southern California. Most of the cottages are reminiscent of the cottages on Nantucket and Cape Cod Islands.

Finding inspiration . . . . . . . .

Lovely porch with lots of red.


Here . . . . .
Red roses

There . . . . .

Vintage Picnic basket with flags and red geraniums

Everywhere . . . . .

We found lots of inspiration on our walk for the summer painting - flags, porches, roses, sunflowers and wicker furniture. My customer has brown wood paneling in her cottage and I decided to paint the porch floor brown in order to tie the painting into her home and bring harmony. I liked the browns in the vintage picnic basket with flags and also added a brown basket of purple flowers in order to bounce the brown around the painting. I also added Catalina Island to anchor the browns ( Catalina Island is a lovely island about 27 miles from Balboa Island in the Pacific Ocean and also a favorite destination of my customer).

The completed summer painting.

Have a bang up fourth.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I love hearing from you and it means a lot to me that you have taken time to leave me a comment and to follow my blog. Please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail if you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the scarf project to help raise money for abandoned dogs.

Have a lovely week. Blessings, Erin

Monday, June 15, 2009

Design Gives Back/ Helps Lost Dogs Scarf Project


Bentley and I are participating in a wonderful and fun project to help raise money for lost and abandoned dogs . The project is sponsored by Kelee Katillac, who's design gives back projects help the world through creative action. Kelee is a "reformed interior designer," artist, creative therapist and author. Her first book, House of Belief: Creating Your Personal Style, was an Amazon best seller and featured on the Opra Winfrey Show. Her beautiful life story is truly an inspiration and you can lean more about her remarkable life by visiting her website

Kelle and Friends

You are probably wondering where I found the inspiration for painting a bouquet of daises on Bentley's scarf to help lost dogs. It all started when I read a heartwarming article on Kelle's blog about Kim of Dear Daisy Cottage http://deardaisycottage.typepad.comand her adorable dog, Maggie. It seems that Kelee's dog, Oliver Wendell, had a big crush on Maggie and so began the Blog Land puppy love story. Well, my studio assistant, Bentley, is a friend of Maggie (they were in the same issue of a Country Sampler Home Tours magazine) and have been sending each other "tail wags" since they met. You can read all about the romance on:

After reading the article about Oliver and the lovely Maggie of Daisy Cottage, it came to me that Bentley could support Oliver in helping him raise money to help abandoned pets and at the same time support him in winning the fair Maggie by painting a bouquet of daises on his scarf. Surely the lovely Maggie would be impressed!!!

Finding Inspiration . . . . .

Here . . . . .

How could the fair Maggie of Daisy Cottage not be impressed that Oliver's buddy was wearing daisies on his scarf . . . . . . .

There . . . . . .

Everywhere . . . . .

Bentley looking for inspiration . . . . .

Bentley wanted to share his inspiration for helping with the scarf project with you. . . . in hopes that you will be inspired to help out the lost and abandoned pets by decorating a scarf . . .he was adopted and wants you to know that he is so happy that he was not abandoned like so many pets, and was placed in a loving home and given an opportunity to become a "studio assistant" and help find inspiration to share with you for his Mom's art.

He wants you to know that you do not have to be an artist to decorate a scarf - you can glue rick rack, fringe, glitter or anything you want to on the scarf - why heck - you can use colored pens or sharpies and just have fun decorating the scarf - how fun would it be to decorate the scarf with your children or grandchildren, neighbors kids or do it yourself.

Please go visit Kelee at All you need to do is send an e-mail to Kelee with your name and address and she will send you the scarf to decorate. And then take a picture of your favorite pet wearing the scarf and e-mail it

Now for a little more inspiration . . . . check out these adorable scarfs that have already been sent to Kelee.

"Nitro" a Hurricane Wilma rescue dog found wrapped in barbed wire.

Please get in on the fun. By simply decorating an Oliver Wendell "Play Strong" scarf and sending a photo to of your creation on your pet - you will earn a $10.00 donation to help these abandoned pets. A sponsor will make a $2,000 donation if we decorate 150 scarves by July 6th - There are prizes for the craziest fun scarves. . . . 100 scarfs have already been decorated and we need 50 more - please help Oliver Wendell and Bentley make the goal of 150 scarves. Oliver Wendell


Thank you for visiting. I love to hear from you and it means so much to me that you have taken the time to leave me a comment and follow my blog. If you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.

Have a lovely week. Blessings, Erin

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blue Hydrangea Inspirations

The hydrangea's are in full bloom and calling for us to paint. Let's join Bentley in my garden and take a look around to find the perfect flower for our painting lesson.

Finding Inspiration . . . . . .

My neighbor planted three different hydrangeas together to get this glorious combination of colors.

Here . . . . . .

There . . . . . . .

Everywhere . . . .

Now that we have found our inspiration, it looks like we will paint my favorite color blue hydrangeas.

Cut blue hydrangeas in a basket are the perfect inspiration for my painting.

Here is my finished blue hydrangea painting.

Now it's time for a little lesson in painting blue hydrangeas. I have taken a number of painting workshops with California artist, Allayn Stevens, Allayn encouraged us to really look at the flowers and study how they grew before we started painting them. We learned to take apart flowers in order to understand their structure. Allayns' charming Laguna Beach French cottage and art was recently featured in Romantic Homes and Romantic Country magazines.

We are going to paint a simple pot of blue hydrangeas and I photographed a pot with two blooms for you to paint.

I took apart one of the blossoms so you can see the structure. Notice a single blossom has 4 petals with a little center. The leaf has a large vein down the center with lots of tiny veins radiating from the center of the vein. Also notice the blossoms are not a solid color - you can see light blues, violet and several shades of blue in the blossoms.

You can try tracing the leaf to get a feel for the shape of the leaf. The blossoms are almost round -I painted a round blossom using Liquitex Prussian blue. I also painted a single petal for you so you can see the shape. Next I painted the blossoms using Prussian blue mixed with white, as well as blue violet and ultramarine blue. I tend to put all of the colors on the brush at the same time in order to get the color variegation in the petals. The last step is to put a little center in some of the blossoms - do not put the center in all of the blossoms as you can not see centers in all of the real flowers.

Here is a little sample of a blue and purple hydrangea painting to give you an idea of how a finished painting will look. For the purple flowers I used dioxin purple to paint the round blossom and then painted the petals using a little white, lavender and blue violet. I used a lime green to paint the centers. I also mixed a little raw sienna with my green to make the veins on the leaf. Have fun with your little painting and don't be afraid to mix your colors together on your brush. I paint with acrylic paints as they are non-toxic and look like oil paint. The nice thing about acrylic - if you make a mistake - you can wash it off before the paint drys.

Thank you for visiting. I love hearing from you and sincerely appreciate that you have taken time to leave me a comment and to follow my blog. If you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.

Have a lovely week. Blessings, Erin

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Garden Hats

I am hosting a garden tea party and everyone attending will be wearing a garden hat. I thought it would be fun to paint little garden hat paintings to give as favors. Pour yourself a glass of ice tea and join me and Bentley in the garden looking for inspiration for the paintings.

Finding inspiration . . . . . .

Here . . . . . .

My love for hats was inherited from my Southern Mother and Grandmother who always wore hats to protect their fair Irish skin from the sun . . they wore big floppy garden hats that looked like they were straight out of Scarlet O'Hara and wonderful hats with various flowers, feathers and ornaments to church on Sunday. Since I inherited their fair Irish skin I always wear a hat in the sun and now have my own collection of big floppy garden hats.

There . . . . . . .

Everywhere . . . . .

Now that we have found lots of inspiration for the garden hats, let's look at some of the little hat paintings and see how they can be displayed in the garden. The paintings are very small and vary in size from 5X7 to 3X3. Each one has eye hooks screwed in the back of the frame so it can be hung with a ribbon and is painted on 100% cotton canvas and coated with 3 coats of stain varnish as protection from the weather.

Paintings can be placed in a wire hanging basket for a touch of whimsy. . . . .

Or hung on the corner of a picket fence . . .

Or hung on a re purposed wash stand . . . .

Or simply leaned up against a vintage blue watering can.

Thank you for visiting. I love to hear from you and really appreciate your taking time to leave me a comment and follow my blog. If you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.
Have a lovely week. Blessings, Erin