Monday, December 16, 2013


9 x 12" acrylic and gold leaf on canvas paper
mounted to panel
available on Etsy

One evening I was looking at an art book on Balthus (thank you Lynne Hoppe for telling me about him) and I saw this image.  I really wanted to try painting a figure in a very open space and this was the result. It was tempting to keep adding layers, but there was something so pleasing about her face I was afraid to go on...afraid to ruin it.

scanned version

This was a difficult one to photograph...all the dark colors seem to just pull in light which made the background look brighter and more blotchy than it actually is.  I was able to capture the truest color by scanning it, but our scanner is not large enough to get the entire painting, plus scanning made her face more blurry. 

And did you know that "Rosa" means pink in Italian?  I am half great grandparents were from Sicily, so this interests me. 

Hope all is well with you.  See you soon!  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Table For One

Table for One
9 x 12 inch mixed media on birch panel
available on Etsy

This was painted in October after a discussion with someone who lost her husband years ago when he was only in his 50's.  She would not mind my telling you that she has never gotten over that loss, and  now that she is 87, seeing him again is all she can think about.  As I painted this I thought of how many have gone through this and that this is also what divorce looks like...because divorce is like death for many.  These are bleak thoughts I know, but they are a reality of the world we live in.

detail of Table for One

I don't wish to spread a spirit of gloom, so let me point out that the chair next to her is empty...which leaves plenty of room for possibility. 

detail of Table for One

Hope prevails...always

Monday, December 9, 2013

Meridian Fields...the Finished Painting Revealed

detail of Meridian Fields while in progress

I am not sure if you remember this image or was a WIP from several posts oil and cold wax painting.

It is finished now.  It seems to be taking forever to dry...I think it is because of the cold wax.  I can scratch paint off of it rather easily with my fingernail.  I have had to touch up the green grass three times to cover up my scratch marks.

Meridian Fields
oil and cold wax
on 9 x 12 inch gessoed panel
available here

It was inspired by this photo that I took close to home.  The lighting at sunset earlier this fall made these fields glow so beautifully.  

Kansas field
Lisa Graham
Below is some music to go with the art...Eva Cassidy's version of Fields of Gold.
It's a beautiful song that was originally written and performed by Sting.

Have a great start to your week!
♥ Lisa

Monday, October 28, 2013

Letting Go of the of The Art of Letting Go

opening night of The Art of Letting Go exhibit

It went beautifully.  I could not have asked for more.  So many friends and family came to give their support.  I spoke with numerous art enthusiasts, collectors and artists, and their comments about my work was very uplifting...the kind of words that make you want to keep painting.

The two Featured Artist walls in the front area of Tessera Fine Art Gallery

Three 9 x 12" paintings sold that evening.

One of the back walls at Tessera Fine Art Gallery

 On the following day someone went back to the gallery and purchased two of my larger works.

The Eight in Payne's Gray series

In the above photo, many of you probably remember the Eight in Payne's Gray series of 16 x 20 inch paintings I did last year for a one night show called Art In-laws done with my brother in-law Dewayne Horner .  These ladies have not found a home yet even though they have been shown at Dock 410, City Arts and Rebecca's and people seem to love them.  They are pretty funky, but I just know that some day the right person(s) will come along and buy them. 

One of the front walls at Tessera Fine Art Gallery

You have not seen the painting in the upper right in the photo above.  She is called Medicine Maker and she made her debut at this show.  There is a special story to go with her, but that is for another blog post.

A precious family...among the first friends that stopped by opening night

My only regret of the evening is that I did not take pictures of all the people that were coming and going.  I took the picture above of our sweet friends at the very beginning with every intention of taking lots more like it, however after that point it was nonstop visiting.  I literally forgot about taking pictures...and my camera was in my pocket!!!  I missed SO many photo opportunities!  Our son KC came and played his keyboard during the event and it added such a nice ambiance to the evening...but not one picture of him either!  Next time I will designate someone to take pictures.  

 As a help for those of you wanting to start selling your art too, I will tell you that I did price my work relatively low for this exhibit.  It was a hard decision to come by, but after discussions with the gallery owner and reading hours of numerous articles online, it felt like the right thing to do since 1.  my art is still evolving and  2.  I am an unknown artist.  And now some of my larger pieces have been released into the world which means as much (maybe even more) to me as earning the dollars for the work that was done on them.  It was a good sacrifice to make I think.

Did I forget to tell you anything?  If I did...leave a comment and I will answer here on the blog. I am open to any questions you might have, especially if it will help you launch your art into the world if you have not done so yet.

So that's it.  That's how it all went.
I am still feeling exhausted...but it's a good kind of tired.  

Thanks for reading everyone!  I am going to start trying to make some rounds this week and get caught up with you my artist blogging friends.

♥ Lisa

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Young Countess in an Almost Empty Room and its Inspiration

Young Countess in an Almost Empty Room
acrylic, oil pastel, colored pencil and ink
on 9 x 12 inch birch panel

David Lloyd paints the most incredible interiors.  He recently had a show in New Orleans and I wish so much I could have seen it.  Watching him make one beautiful interior painting after another in preparations for his show inspired me to paint this interior in my own style.  Well..him and Edouard Vuillard

 I bought a book called Edouard Vuillard - a Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940 and when I saw the painting on page 94 Portrait of the Countess Marie-Blanche de Polignac I just had to do my own interior.  Vuillard's painting was a huge guide for me as I did this piece.

Here's what I did...

 First I "drew" the room...the corners, floor, ceiling and window placement.  I decided to keep it simple with only the chair, rug and standing figure rather than try to get too detailed (respecting my limitations as a painter) and I placed everything in one room rather than having two visible rooms like Vuillard's painting. 

 I loved the bedspread in his painting and tried to get some similar colors and designs into the dress of the countess.  At first she was dressed in something very modern looking...kind of a skinny jean outfit, but that just didn't look right in this old fashioned room so I quickly changed her clothing to a dress...the ease of acrylic!  I know changes can be done in oil too, but I think it's much harder.  It either turns muddy, or if you wipe it away you have to start over and for me getting the same matching colors is tough.  If I have to make corrections in oil, I often have to change the whole area because of this.  

  I have had a few people ask me recently where my inspiration comes from and this is one of the ways my paintings are done...taking bits and pieces from a painting I love.  I would say that my favorite way to paint is still just to start laying down color and going with it...allowing the painting to "reveal" itself.  However, painting something that is inspired like my painting above is what teaches me the most.  I learn a little about drawing and color each time I paint this way. 

The sun is shining bright...yard work today.  My show at the gallery is Friday and our son KC is playing his keyboard at the event!  It is good to know people in high places. :)

 I will post about the show Monday.  Thank you for all your comments and well wishes everyone!  You all are awesome!!

Have a beautiful day and weekend!

♥ Lisa

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Small Portraits in Oil

Quiet Manner
oil on 5 x 7 inch paper

As I have mentioned before, I love working with oil on paper.  These are all 5 x 7" with no border...I painted them laying flat.  I used 140 lb paper which holds up nicely to the oil.  The only thing I don't care for is that they are very dull when they dry, so I spray them with Kamar varnish and that really shines them up.

I have been gluing these small paper works to a firm matte board...also 5x7"... and that makes them so easy to place in a standard frame.  

Blue Wallflower
oil on 5 x 7" paper

Night in White Satin
oil on 5 x 7" paper

Since my art show Friday night, I have watched a ton of movies...I think vegging helps the recuperation process.  :)   We spent a lot of time with family this past weekend too.  This week I am hard at work on a commission painting for someone in western U.S.  It is coming along nicely and I will show it soon...I have a long way to's a 30x24".   It is so fun to work on big canvases!  I like small too though, they are easier to store.

Tonight, the newlyweds are coming over for dinner.  We love getting to spend time with them!

Have a great day whatever you are doing!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ragamuffin Rena

Ragamuffin Rena
papers, gel medium, acrylic, glazing medium and ink
16 x 20 inch on stretched canvas

So which one is Ragamuffin?  Bet you can't guess.  I was excited about this painting and couldn't wait to show you, my blog friends.  

I hope tonight...for the opening reception at my show I look a little more like a Rena than a Ragamuffin. I think Rena has a better chance at selling art, don't you? :)

Huge warm hugs, thank yous, and high fives to all of you for the good luck wishes. I appreciate you all so much and I will be imagining you are there with me tonight.

♥ Lisa

PS:  I won't be doing a Share Sunday post this weekend...need some rest.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spanish Harlem is Finally Finished!

Spanish Harlem
oil, acrylic, tea bag (the dress) , ink, gel, glaze, oil pastels, Pitt pen
on 24 x 18 x 1.5 inch canvas

I have been a painting maniac lately and I probably have about seven paintings I could post, but Spanish Harlem deserves a post all its own because it was a bear-of-a-painting to do.  Lots of lines in the buildings, every little crevice and corner calling for a different tone or value from the other.  Oh how I wish I had this color thing down, but I am self taught and it is what it is.  However, I am happy with it. 

detail of Spanish Harlem

With this painting I learned don't like to work with oils on such a large surface or on canvas.  I prefer oil on paper and for right now probably on a surface no larger than a 9 x 12". Oil overwhelms me, which is why this painting came to a screeching halt after the block-in was done.  I have much more control with acrylic and it's so much easier to wipe away mistakes.  However, oil is so blendable and the soft look of them is so pleasing, so I will keep working with those too.   

testing it out on the wall

So that's that.  Done!  

looks so different in outdoor light

Happy Tuesday!  Thank you for all your kind comments and visits.  I love hearing from you and I am doing my best to reciprocate.  Without you, there would be no point to this blog.

♥ Lisa

Saturday, July 27, 2013

When Do You Call it Finished?

Beginnings...on a 16 x 20" deep canvas

When do you call a painting finished?  I know this is a questions every painter asks.  It is a question I ask often these days. 


 I liked this second phase.  It was tempting to stop, but so much of the canvas was still uncovered with paint.  How do you keep going and not loose these ghostly images?  I have no idea how.  

Where I left off last night...
still in progress...
(cutting their clothing was like playing with paper dolls..very fun!)

A little more polished in the above photo...but hopefully not headed in the "tight" direction.  I am always disappointed when they come out tight looking and they often do. 

This is where having an instructor would be awesome, but it's such a pain to drag art supplies (especially when you work in mixed media) back and forth to art lessons.  

So I will just keep painting and figuring it out the hard way...

Have a great Saturday!

PS:  Still having a sale on Etsy plus I listed several new works that are now available.  Sale ends August 17th. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bernadette's Bedroom

Bernadette's Bedrrom
11 x 14 inch oil on panel

This is an oil painting I started before I left for North Carolina and it is now finished.  In the beginning the background was just one big curtain, but it seemed so boring so I put in a smaller window and flowered wallpaper.  The carpet design was made by scratching squiggly lines into the paint.  I used a palette knife for the curtains and the bedspread. I thought about putting a vase of flowers or something on the nightstand, but decided to just leave it.  The wonderful thing about painting is you can always change it later if you want to.   I am getting more comfortable with oils the more I use them.  

Close up of Bernadette's Bedroom

My trip to North Carolina with my friends Carol and Kelly was a great time!  One evening, we spent some time drawing and I walked them through the steps of drawing a face with charcoal.  I think they did fabulous!  I really love teaching people how to draw faces, because they always seem to get so into it and really enjoy the process.  

Our drawings:
Carol's, Mine and Kelly's

Every year at our house we throw a July 4th party to celebrate Independence Day and this year we had around 40 people come.  We cooked on the grill, listened to live music...our son plays keyboards for a band and my mother and father in-law have their own 2 person band.  We also watch fireworks and it is so relaxing to sit in a lawn chair and watch our fireworks and all the others around our neighborhood.  Our street is full of families that really like to celebrate so it's quite a show.  I didn't get any photos of the fireworks this year, but here's a great one from last year...

July 4th fireworks at our house
Needless to say, it's been a busy couple of weeks and it will be nice to settle back into a routine and make some art!
See you soon.

♥ Lisa

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Taking a Trip and a Sketchbook Peek

Hello and good morning!  I am going to be gone for a few days to North Carolina to spend time with  these girls childhood friends Carol and Kelly.   It's hard to believe it's been two years since we last met there in NC where Kelly lives and I can't wait for the girl time complete with giggles and soulful talks.  

Graphite, watercolor and gouache in
8.5 x 11" sketchbook

This week I have been working on a 11 x 14" oil painting that is almost finished and spending a lot of time in my larger 8.5 x 11" Stillman and Birn Gamma.  I don't work in this book often, but I should because there is a lot of room for play.  But honestly I tend to do my "play" on loose paper because  if it turns out well I want to be able to stick it into a frame for a while until a better one comes along.  Like the first image above here...I would  frame her for a bit because I like the way her dress turned out.  

Graphite, watercolor and gouache in
8.5 x 11" sketchbook
In the above image I was playing with some lettering just to see how my freehand looked.  It doesn't say anything...or at least not that I know of.  She looks so Picasso.  I study his art a lot in a couple of books that I have and it's funny how sometimes those impressions come out in my own art when I look at the art of others.  I love that subconscious thing in art.  It always amazes me.  

Graphite and watercolor in
8.5 x 11" sketchbook
The above is just a playful sketch.  I was trying to do a good tree in watercolor...not an easy task.

I hope you have an amazing week and see you soon!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oils on Paper and a Quick Question for YOU

Roman Thought
oil on 6 x 8 inch paper

When I am working on the WIP I shared in the last post with the seven little faces and my eyes start to cross, I have to work on something larger.  Can you tell I overcompensated on these faces?  They are HUGE.  It could be my rebellion against the teeny tiny faces, but it could also be that I worked in oils.  Not my forte', but oh they feel marvelous on paper!  These were really quick works too, so don't be surprised if they end up in one of my shops for cheap cheap once they are dry.
Susan Attends Estate Sales
oil and marker on 6 x 8 inch paper

On compositions:  the first painting I used a lovely magazine ad to aid with the layout of the woman, but then went sort of crazy with the flowers and clothes.  On the second painting here, I used my imagination 100%.  I have a thing for houses right now (they are in the background) and I love painting them.  Here I just scratched them into the painting and went over it with a marker very lightly.

QUICK QUESTION (for my blogging friends):  Do you reply to comments via your blog, by email, or not at all?  And why?  I am going back and forth on this one and if you haven't noticed, I haven't been replying at all unless asked a direct question. I have preferred to spend the time visiting blogs, but I fear I am being rude by not responding on the comments on my own blog.  This is an overdue question I know since I've been blogging over a year and half now, but  I would love your feedback...tell me your thoughts.  

           Have a great weekend everyone!
                                    ♥ Lisa                                                                                                                                                                          

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Backyard Bench

The Backyard Bench
24 x 24 inch mixed media on stretched canvas

Back to a large painting surface again...trying to get some pieces ready for upcoming shows.  On the 1 -10 Happy Scale I give this painting a 9.5.  Not that I am any sort of artistic genius or anything, but I am so thrilled with this one because so many things turned out just as I had hoped without a lot of fight or my usual self doubt.  I used a vintage photo as a loose guide for the composition.  For the colors I initially went to a Camille Pissarro painting that I love to help me get started, but once the foundation of this painting was put in place, I went out entirely on my own and instinctively chose the colors.  

Here are some close-ups so you can see the details better.

I hope all you moms, moms-to-be, and motherly types had a beautiful Mother's Day.  It was a lovely weekend here in Kansas...lots of flower planting,  phone time with my oldest son and a nice walk with my youngest son yesterday.  My mom's birthday dinner was a blast and she just glowed the whole weekend.  Thank you for all your sweet comments and birthday wishes for her.  She has been reading them and you have made her feel really special.  

Have a great start to the week!

♥ Lisa

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


9 x 12 acrylic on wood panel
Available in my Etsy shop

     As I have mentioned before, I have been trying to be a little more controlled with my colors.  You know those paintings that draw you in because the palette is just so pleasing?  That's what I aimed for here.  A portrait with a simple background is the easiest way for me to do this vs say a landscape with lots of parts.  I used  THIS portrait by James Whistler as a guide at the beginning of my painting.  I was wanting to capture the colors he used...lots of grays and yellows and that wonderful grayish-green in the background.  However, her clothing went sort of minty green, but I really liked it so I left it that way.  It was more of a pale blue before, but as my background turned more green, so did the dress.

     I hope you are having an amazing week.  We have been enjoying our sunshine and temperatures in the 80's, but for some reason, there is a chance for snow tomorrow. ?????  Kansas is weird that way, but this is extremely unusual.  Our trees are just now waking up!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Readings at The Dusty Bookshelf

Readings at the Dusty Bookshelf
Acrylic on 20 x 16" wood panel

There is a small and quaint college town called Manhattan in Northeast Kansas. It is a lovely town and the home of Kansas State University (K-State).  I visited this town about two years ago for the first time.  You would think that growing up in Wichita and Manhattan being only two hours away that I would have been there before.   I had no reason to go I suppose because the grand Kansas City is in the same direction, but more east and that is where I usually preferred to go.  However two years ago, the "new dog-owner"/artist/photographer in me felt pulled in the direction of Manhattan so that I could shoot some photos of the area.  Not only is there the quaint town and beautiful college campus, but Tuttle Creek Lake is also located there...a great place to walk the dog and shoot some pictures. 

While I was in town, I walked into a wonderful and very warm bookstore called The Dusty Bookshelf. We used to have a Dusty Bookshelf in our downtown, but they closed.  I had no idea there was another in Manhattan until I visited that day.  So much character in this store!  So I asked the retailer if I could take pictures and this is my painting inspired by those photos. 

Being there made me miss the bookstore in Wichita...they had a black and white cat that lived in the store.  Talk about ambiance.  Maybe I should have painted a cat into the scene somewhere...perhaps on top of one of the shelves.  . 

The Dusty Bookshelf  in Manhattan, KS 2011

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Difficulties of Painting on Wood: A Look at the 2nd WIP

The title of this blog post should actually say "The Difficulties of Being Self Taught".  This is my second large acrylic painting on a 24x48 inch piece of wood.  I am not sure what type of wood it is, but it is definitely not that wonderful birch I painting on in the last post.  Live and learn.  This wood is so much more porous and getting coverage is really really really taking a lot of paint.  I put gesso down prior, but it probably would have taken a gallon of it to cover this wood properly.

I like the overall composition and the colors, but there are so many things I don't like and I am not really sure how to fix them without just painting certain parts over.

 I am okay with the way her face turned out...the shading is difficult, but this is nothing new for me.  What is annoying is that line you see by her left eye which I believe is from the wood grain.  I didn't even notice it until I took the photo.  The only way to change this is more coverage and I think it would take a lot of paint and then I would lose what I have.  Also, I can't figure out why there is so much glare?  Is it the acrylic paints?

 This is the floor...TOO RAW...but I have no clue how to make it better or to finish it.  I thought about painting borders around the squares in kind of a Klimt-ish style...but then it would tighten the work and I am trying to loosen up.

And her hands are too small.  If I paint larger hands I think I would have to entirely change the mattress and you would not believe the amount of time it took to get it to the point it's at.  It was a white blob for a long time and now at least it sort of looks like a mattress.

I am seeing now that this is why they say an artist should draw, draw, draw.  If you do this you have a much better chance at having proportionally correct hands and mattress edges.  :)

In a nutshell I need to decide if it's finished. Should I leave it raw looking and accept that it is likely the wood that is my problem (if it is a problem) ...or does it really NEED more and I will just have to risk losing the things I DO like about it and keep on painting it.   It may be a while before I decide either way.

♥ Lisa

PS:  Look what we got here in Wichita, Kansas!  We set some records...second largest snowfall from a single storm in recorded history...over 14 inches!  I leave you with a few images of our winter wonderland.  Even though most of us are feeling ready for Spring, it is hard to deny the beauty of snow and the fun it brings, especially to an area of the world that sees so little of it.
Our cat Bean leading the way for Hurley through tire tracks. Bean is the more seasoned pet of the two.

View from my studio window

Female Cardinal

Male and female Cardinals

Hurley our Golden Retriever... and his nose

After shoveling, shoveling, shoveling...I tried my hand at sculpting. Not bad, eh?