Monday, July 3, 2017

Strawberries for the Fourth!

strawberry art oil painting still life
 "Four Strawberries"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Red, White, and Blue. Happy Fourth of July, all!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Red Red Radishes

radish oil painting still life
 "Red Red Radishes"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Why are so many artists drawn to radishes as a subject? Is it the complementary color scheme? The texture contrast between the smooth radishes and their feathery leaves? The challenge of capturing something that is literally wilting before your eyes? The movement in those twisting root threads? Or just the inviting, saturated reds?

Check, check, check! I resonate with all of it.

Here's the palette I used for this piece - a before and after:
And here's my model, my work-in-progress, and the finished piece. You can see more images like this on my Instagram page. It's like an ongoing mini-blog, with lots of behind-the-scenes stuff - and even a few selfies!

radish painting work in progress

Oh, one more thing! I snuck an unblogged painting onto DPW auctions - it's starting at $100, you can check it out here. :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017


scissors painting art sarah sedwick
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas
Framed, $500
 This is about as close as I have to a work-in-progress for this one - it's also an artist's-residency-in-progress shot - from my time at Playa back in February of this year. I've almost finished posting all twenty of those paintings here - but I still have a couple up my sleeve! 

Here's the finished painting. No clip lamp in sight -  I used only window light on my subject, making this a pretty rare piece for me. If you click on the picture for a larger view, you'll see my clamps and screwdriver sitting there on the easel - the unsung supporting cast of painting tools. The only one missing is the pliers. For opening stubborn paint tubes.

...And here's "Boundary" in its truly finished state. All framed up and hanging out with his friends. All four of these paintings are available, framed or unframed. Visit my Etsy shop or send me an email anytime. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Three-And-A-Half Lemons

"Three-And-A-Half Lemons"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

 I'm able to bust out these little black-and-white oil sketches so quickly because I keep a pre-mixed value scale palette on hand at all times - in my freezer. Oil paint will develop a dry "skin" after a day or two when left out on the palette, but frozen it will keep for weeks. 

I also find it incredibly helpful in my color work, not to have to start from scratch each time I set out to paint. If the thought of all the preparation involved has ever stopped you from heading into the studio, consider keeping a pre-mixed palette on ice!


So many tips and tricks stored (like palettes in a freezer) in the recesses of my brain... I'll be unpacking lots more of them this weekend at my still life painting workshop, here in Eugene. Spaces are still available - click here for info! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Four Elements

painting cups ribbon dishes still life
 "Four Elements"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

This still life was not originally intended to be an allegory of the four elements - it got its name because it has, literally, four elements. Looking at it just now, however, it came to me that they could be symbols - the fish dish for water, the orange ribbon for fire...the blue cup for air, and the white It's "feet" are on the ground, anyway. 

I recently visited an astrologer, and was told that I have a lot of the Air element in my birth chart. One interesting thing about that: air signs are connected to birds and their feathers. Go figure!

A black and white oil sketch for this piece. Paint in my sketchbook - something I've been doing a lot lately!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Before I became a full-time artist, I was a plant lady - watering plants in office buildings, mainly. That was a decade ago, but my personal plant collection, though it's constantly evolving (along with everything else in life), remains a thing. A pretty big thing. Sometimes people even give me plants! That's how I came by this one, which broke as I was moving it back and forth from my studio, and spawned this cutting... And this painting! 


Here's my underpainting, alongside the finished piece:

And the model: 
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Green Onions on Blue - And Thoughts on Using Black Paint

 art painting onions blue and white
"Green Onions on Blue" 
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

 Here's are the colors I used for this painting. You'll notice that I have black in there - in fact, I almost always have black on my palette. Rather than using it to paint black things, or to darken other colors, I treat it like a blue - a very dark, desaturated blue. Usually, I mix dark greens with it. 


I also used it to whip up that little preliminary value study, right in my sketchbook. Ten minutes of planning makes a huge difference in the finished product - oil sketches are a practice I highly recommend!

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Blue Jay Feather

 "The Blue Jay Feather"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

This feather is actually from a Steller's Jay, which just might be my spirit animal. They seem to hang around me in flocks, and I've been lucky enough to find two of their feathers. Feathers have been a recurring theme in my life these past two years, symbolizing many things - among them presence of mind and awareness - both of myself and of the small things around me - the beautiful gifts life offers when our eyes are open.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Orange Ribbon

"The Orange Ribbon" 
10 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

I love painting ribbon! It's basically a custom-made tool for creating movement in a still life - and lots of fun little shapes to paint. 

I'm in Louisiana teaching two workshops this week - still life AND portrait painting. To follow my adventures, check out my Instagram page. It's really the best way to keep track of me these days!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Green Teapot, and a chance to watch me paint it - live!

 "The Green Teapot"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

As an artist, I don't often feel that I'm in a "helping" profession. Yes, the arts benefit society hugely, and I'm proud to be a part of that. And yes, when I'm teaching painting, it's incredibly rewarding to be able to pass on my experience to my students. Donating my work to charitable organizations is a different kind of difference-making. I'll never be a social worker, but I truly know how important social work is to my community. So! This Thursday, I'll be participating in a great benefit for Sheltercare, here in Eugene.

I say it's a great benefit, because it really is - it's at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the U of O campus, there's live music, great food, a silent auction of local art, and this year, my talented friend Heather and I will be making art, live, during the event. AND our paintings will be part of the raffle - along with our subject, this lovely green teapot.

So, today's painting was just a warmup, you could say!

Click on the image above for more info about the event - and click here to read an interview with yours truly, on the Sheltercare blog!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Swedish Ivy: A Painting and a Video

 houseplant painting swedish ivy oil on canvas
 "Swedish Ivy"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

This painting began as a demo for my online students - unbelievably, my art mentorship program is almost one year old! Time flies. And time certainly flew while I was doing this demo - in over two hours, I only got as far as the image on the left. As usual, the group and I covered a wide range of topics - and I DID edit the recording down to about 90 minutes, so you just get the good stuff!

 art work in progress oil painting work-in-progress

Watch this painting come together! If you're reading this in your email, click here for the video.

Interested in studying with me in person? I've got a list of upcoming workshops in the right-hand sidebar of the blog -----> including this weekend, Intro to Oil Painting, in Eugene.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rogue Valley Honey

 "Rogue Valley Honey"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

I went South last weekend to spend a couple of days hanging out by a large, beautiful river. It rained the entire time, which kept me from even attempting to paint plein air. To be honest, that was more than OK with me, since there was a Camellia bush in full bloom right outside our front door - and this gorgeous, glowing jar of honey, calling out to be painted from the moment I spied it on the kitchen shelf. So this still life is the product of true serendipity; my artistic journey is like a never-ending scavenger hunt with so many precious treasures hidden along the path, absolutely guaranteed to be found by me if I just keep looking. It's still exciting every time I find one.


When I did eventually brave the rainy outdoors, I was rewarded with visual treasures of another sort:

Oregon is amazing! After ten years of living here, I'm still in awe.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Green Olives and Tea

 "Green Olives and Tea"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

Here is my thumbnail sketch for this painting:

And here is a studio shot with my work-in-progress - the still life, my thumbnail sketch on the floor, for reference, and my easel cuddled up close to all of it, for a bird's eye view. In the background, by the window, you can see the still life setup for "The Pattern Beneath All Things," which I was painting at the same time as this one, in the afternoons, with the blinds open.  I had tape marks on the floor, and I just shifted the easel over.  

The thumbnail sketch for this piece snuck into this random shot of my studio desk as well - along with some objects from the painting - the garlic, the blue-rimmed plate. The olives are even hiding in this shot. (Hint: they're in their jar.) I think my motive for taking this picture was to document the excessive number of sketchbooks in play at once. Or maybe I just found the overall scene pleasing. I do love a good jumble of objects.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Teaching the Figure in OKC

 "Adrian in April"
14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

I just returned from a fantastic workshop at The Conservatory for Classical Art in Oklahoma City. We were doing alla prima figure painting - three days of live models, plenty of paint mixing, and value studies. It all resulted in some gorgeous work by my students!

I'm always so impressed with the drawing skills and dedication shown by the students at the CCA, across a wide range of ages and backgrounds.  

What a great group! I'm already looking forward to my next visit, "Painting the Dynamic Still Life," in October. 


And if you're interested in painting the figure with me in Oregon, I have a workshop coming up in June. Email me for details on that!

Friday, April 14, 2017


10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Learning to see a complete spectrum of colors in an arrangement that at first seems to only contain yellow, blue, and white - and showing it to you! Just one tiny part of my answer to the big question: "Why paint?"

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Pattern Beneath All Things

 "The Pattern Beneath All Things"
10 x 20 inches, oil on canvas
I am amazed that I have no work-in-progress pictures of this one. It just kind of snuck out while I wasn't looking. 

So, here's a picture of a cow:


I passed this girl and her buddies every day on my post-studio decompression run. Running by the side of the highway sounds pretty dismal, but as you can see, it was anything but. And pretty peaceful - not much traffic - just me and the cows and the huge changing sky. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bright Breakfast

 "Bright Breakfast"
10 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

A couple of weeks into my residency at Playa, it suddenly felt like my studio was full of paintings. How did that happen? It was the elves. I came into the studio every morning excited to see what they'd been working on overnight....

....and stopped on the way to snap heartbreaking sunrise pictures like this one! 


Monday, April 3, 2017

Garlic-Stuffed Olives

"Garlic-Stuffed Olives"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I may have forgotten certain things when packing for my artist's residency last month, but the powers that be saw fit to sneak some random items into my luggage that came in very handy - like a jar of olives. Olives? Not exactly one of my go-to studio snacks, though I like them. 
 And I like them as painting subjects even more.   

Here's my setup, with some preparatory sketches. All three of these sketches became paintings. So you're actually getting a preview of my next two posts - click on the image to scrutinize at close range!

A time-lapse video of my underpainting. If you're reading this in your email, you may need to click this link to watch it:


Friday, March 31, 2017

Go Green... and Yellow!

 "A Dish of Green Olives"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Interrupting my stream of residency paintings to post a piece from one of March's Still Life Open Studio sessions. Is it a coincidence that I'm posting this very green-and-yellow painting on the eve of the big Oregon Ducks final four basketball game (green and yellow being the U of O's school colors)? 
 Yes, it is. 😉

These two daffodils took a turn as daily sketch subjects the next morning, looking fresh and rested, even after their rigorous evening modeling session. The lemons, too. Troopers!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

In Which I Make A Ruler...And a Time-Lapse Video

"Six Inches"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Although I felt like I brought about half of my possessions to Playa, I somehow left my ruler at home. And, of course, I needed it - so I made one out of a piece of paper. And it found its way into this still life somehow....
If you had been there, you'd agree - this composition was just crying out for a tiny touch of white. Which was perfectly supplied by my homemade ruler. Touch of white, title inspiration, semi-accurate measurement - what a useful life!

I made a time-lapse video of this one - about four hours of painting condensed into two minutes. I like watching that plate pattern emerge in the last 30 seconds. Painless in hindsight.... Enjoy!