Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wishing You Merry Christmas

"Pitcher and Poinsettias"      16" x 20"     Oil

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

For a really fantastic year for
GreavesArt and the Good (Art)Works Effort

We have raised 
for worthy causes
this year.

May 2014 bring peace and prosperity to all.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Continuing the series of painting done in Taos....

The weather was outstanding the entire week Alla Prima International spent in Taos, NM. However, one morning was overcast. We stayed near the hotel and I painted from an upstairs balcony. This view was of a neighbor's large tree and the field of purple asters beyond. 

Unfinished painting after plein air session

Evaluating the painting later, I felt the left side beyond the tree was confusing. The light roofs of sheds below the tree slope were not explained well. Further, the fence was incomplete. I decided to extend the road across the canvas behind the tree to unite the left and right side. A little more work on the tree and the fence topped it off.

Finished painting

"Tree and Asters, Taos"   11" x 14"  Oil

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Our Lady of Sorrows" 14" x 11" Oil

Our Lady of Sorrows is located 1.5 miles southeast of downtown Taos on Witt Road. We passed it daily as we returned to the San Geronimo Lodge, our headquarters. Of course, that meant we had to paint it and I did two paintings in its vicinity. This one was from the back of the church looking at a brilliant tree across the street. I counted a total of 7 crosses on the church and in its yard and couldn't resist one more (the one carried by the priest).

Evaluating the painting, which had been smeared as I put another piece into the wet painting storage box, I saw that the shadow on the side of the church was too neutral, giving the area a "dead" look. Also, there was no good center of interest. The tree wasn't enough to pull together the tower of the church and the large tree on the right. The crosses did not stand out enough and the main tree needed more definition. The tree on the right was not substantial enough and the cast shadow from that tree was too dense. Boy, this one was a mess!

Unfinished painting after plein air session

Going to work, I warmed the cast shadow on the side of the church, accounting for lots of reflected light and warmth. I defined the crosses by cooling the shadow side and painting the edges that caught the sunlight. To give the distant tree more substance, I enlarged it and added more brilliant foliage. Using the technique of marbled paint - not-fully-mixed pigments - I worked on the right-had tree and added some branches. Knowing that shadows have light reflected from the sky, I adjusted the overly-dense shadow at the bottom right.

The center of interest was still not strong enough to carry the work, so I added two figures turning the corner as they went to mass. The priest's standard gave me the chance to add another cross. Saved! Appropriate for a painting of a church, I think.

Finished painting

"Our Lady of Sorrows, Taos"   11" x 14"  Oil

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Taos Casita" 11" x 14" Oil

This is one of the first paintings I did on location last month in Taos, New Mexico. Evelyn Boren, a member of Alla Prima International as I am, showed us these charming casitas in downtown Taos. This one had an especially picturesque garden and the morning lighting set it off. I wanted to show the effect of the light on the adobe where the bouncing light intensified one plane and left the color perpendicular to it cooler. The colorful door and window were pleasant, as well.

Unfinished painting after plein air session

I saw, when I evaluated the work later, that there was some confusion in the foreground about what was in light and what was in shadow. (I'm baring my soul here.) I spent some time perking up those flowers and even added dark centers to the sunflowers behind. Just a little work on the door, window, and treetops finished it up.
Finished painting

""Taos Casita"   11" x 14"  Oil

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Bridge to Faith" 11" x 14" Oil

Continuing with the series of paintings started on location in Taos, New Mexico....

After I had finished working on site on "Delivery" (see previous post), the day was heating up and I looked for a shady spot for my next attempt. I found it by the rickety old wooden bridge that lead to the near-ruins of what was once a thriving parish near Taos. I liked the mysterious nature of the building showing beyond this wild cluster of bushes that had grown up in the streambed. The scene had further depth because of the field and mountain beyond the church.

Unfinished painting after plein air session

The first thing I wanted to do, when I was back in the studio and evaluated the work, was to solidify and enlarge the grouping of shrubs, serving almost as a barrier to faithfulness. I used a large brush loaded with dark green and dipped in other pigments as well. The result was a riot of color. I added similar notes to the tree on the left, but subordinated them.

Next, I eliminated the long shadow on the bridge since it combined with the shadows in the streambed and pointed out of the bottom of the canvas. I softened the far edge of the bridge and made the surface cooler like weather-worn timbers gone silvery with age. Then, I repainted a few shadows on the bridge.

I needed just a little correction on the bell tower to finish up.

Finished painting

"Bridge to Faith"   11" x 14"  Oil

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Road to Arroyo Seco"

After our day in Arroyo Seco (see previous post), we wanted to paint one of the scenes we had seen along the road between Taos and Arroyo Seco.

This long view included a stalwart mountain and an ancient house or shed whose near walls had given way and the roof that had partially fallen in. The backlit trees were nearly haloed when we arrived and were further along in their seasonal change. Chamesa and sage dotted the foreground.

Unfinished painting after plein air session

When I returned to the studio, I knew that this painting needed only a bit of work. The top of the structure was the focal point, so I made sure the sunlit boards contrasted well with the dark tones below and the trees nearby. I unified the treetop foliage and boosted the foreground blooms. I added holes the color of whatever was behind the trees and drew in a few more branches. Lastly, I added small color accents like those already in some spots, mostly red or blue, so they were distributed rhythmically around the painting.

Finished painting

"Road to Arroyo Seco"   11" x 14"  Oil


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Old Hotel in Arroyo Seco"

Another day of my recent trip to Taos, New Mexico, we ventured to Arroyo Seco, a quaint hamlet that has colorful shops, cafes, and hotels on the main street and a church and adobes on the lanes to the north. Since this day was pretty warm, we looked for shade first, as I often do. If I'm comfortable, I paint better. I set up my easel just off the main road in the shade of several trees and it as foreground in this view of an old hotel. Its crisp white trim and adobe walls were nicely lit and there were trees on the near side that were morphing into autumn hues.

The first thing I discovered was that I was out of 11" x 14" Raymar canvas panels, but my dear friend Geri Acosta loaned me one of her Gessoboards. The surface of these boards is much more absorbent and the paint won't move around as well as I am used to, so I knew that I had two choices. Either paint broad and thin or paint thick enough to overcome the absorbency problem. I did a little of both. The foreground shadow was painted thinly and the building and trees got a heavier dose.  

Unfinished painting after plein air session

When I looked at the painting back in the studio, I felt the purple shadow was too strong and detracted from the rest of the painting. Additionally, the spot of light within the shadow jumped out too much. The dark accents were not well distributed and the work lacked contrast in the architecture. The tree tops on the left lacked interest and form.
Finished painting

""Old Hotel in Arroyo Seco"   11" x 14"  Oil

Working in the studio, I reinforced the lights and darks. I put darker lines at the eves and clearer and more carefully drawn shadows on the columns, downspout and balustrades. 

I wanted a better "storyline". A storyline is detectable in most strong works and is a line that leads the eye from side to side in the painting. It must not create a painting with two halves, but should traverse in an interesting way, letting the viewer's eye pass over it in places to explore the entire scene. I used this device from right to left along the front of the low adobe wall, by the front and side of the building, and through the shrubs and trees to the right.

I softened the top edges of the trees on the left, changing the value and color slightly to add form. Since the foreground shadow of the tree would have more blue reflection from the sky the farther it went from the base of the tree, I used that to temper the strong purple. Lastly, I darkened the light spot in the front shadow so it no longer grabbed the eye.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A New Series

Hi everyone. I've had a break and am happy to have something new to offer.

I have been painting on location more this fall, in Taos with Alla Prima International, and elsewhere, so I have a pile of partly finished paintings. I thought it might interest you to see the changes I make as I take a fresh look at the works and make changes to improve and complete the paintings.

To do this, I first look for faults in the composition. All the refinement in the world won't help if the composition is weak. Also, it is easier to make myself make big changes at this stage than after I've labored over its details.

Now, let's look at the first one.

The "Alla Prima Donnas", as Rose Hohenberger dubbed us - it's an all-female group, after all - went to the site of an old mission in Taos on this October day. I set up my easel for the first painting of the day near where we parked with a view of the back of the decaying structure. I was attracted to this tree just screaming its joy in the cooling weather, though only part of the tree was yellow. A single-rail fence marked the boundary for the parking area and a dip was between me and the yellow tree. This dip had tall weeds in shadow close to me and a railing for an unseen deck of the house that was out of the picture on the right. This railing would add structure to that area.

Unfinished painting after plein air session

As I evaluated the composition of the plein air work, I felt there was too strong a diagonal across the piece and decided to counter it, somehow. The yellow tree was painted as it was, with only the branch in its fall color, while the rest was still green. This looked as if the tree was unbalanced and about to topple to the right. The wall of the building had no windows or doors and offered nothing of interest for the viewer. Most of the lines in the composition lead to this building, but why go to a blank wall?

Finished painting

"Delivery" - Oil - 12" x 16"

To reconcile the leaning tree, I moved the calendar forward a bit and painted the entire tree yellow, the left-hand portion in shadow. I darkened the yellow leaves at the top of the painting and softened those edges. Since the big gap in the trees over the building looked improbable, I extended the foliage over that area. 
To describe the dip as a slope, I placed a figure of the correct size for the scale of the distant building as if he were walking up a path. His vertical form also broke that severe diagonal. Lastly, I added a window to the building, giving it more depth and interest.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Promise" 12" x 12" eBay auction ENDS FRIDAY at 6 PM PDT

"Promise" - Oil - 12" x 12"


"Painting these small, square florals has been a special pleasure to me. It is a challenge to give a new take on the subject and express its vitality. Yellow is a special challenge, but I think this one caught the mood and drama of densely grouped blooms.  The blue ceramic jar offered a contrast in texture and one of my favorite interior decorating combinations, yellow and blue. The title, 'Promise', reminds us of the renewal that comes with each spring."  --- SFG

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

"Ghost Ranch Icon"

This auction ends TONIGHT at 6 PM PDT.  Benefits MY STUFF BAGS FOUNDATION.

"Ghost Ranch Icon" - Oil - 11" x 14"

"I felt the weight of responsibility to produce a good painting when I stood where Georgia O'Keeffe painted one of her more famous works. Ghost Ranch is a wondrous setting and these spires are typical of the region's geology. Sunshine and deep blue skies enforced the vivid colors." --- SFG 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

"Sedona Fire"

Some paintings are a little special to the artist. This one fulfilled a goal of having a consistent design throughout the painting, especially in the sky. Auction ends Monday at 6 PM PDT. Benefits MAKE-A-WISH.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to work... "Farmer's Market"

"Farmer's Market" - Oil - 16" x 20"

"It was market day when I visited Carmel. Trucks and vans spilled tons of bright and fresh vegetables on artfully arranged tables and vendors waited for the rush. Vigorous paint application and rioting color make this painting take life. " --- SFG

This is another experiment with paint, color, and texture. We all need to break out of our comfort zones!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Catching Up...

I need to do some catching up, especially if you do not follow my FaceBook page. 

I met my daughter in New York City for my first ever visit. My main goal was the Hispanic Society museum, dominated - rightfully so - by Sorolla's masterpiece murals. Viewing the murals has been on my bucket list for years and one of the reasons for this trip. My daughter and I had a FABULOUS trip! 

(Click on pics to enlarge.)

This painting of Tiffany was on the wall to the right of the scene of the oxen and boats above.

This is the main hall. The paintings above are on the far wall.

There is a separate, huge room for the murals which encircle you.

TIP: Don't go to the museum in hot weather. It is not air-conditioned and they close early on the worst days. We had taken the subway up to the museum, only to be told that they were closing. Had to return the next day in the swelter of a twenty-year-record heat wave. It was 100 degrees and 90% humidity, BUT IT WAS WORTH IT TO SEE THESE MASTERPIECES.

I am VERY CONCERNED about the lack of temperature control for the paintings. I could see crazing when I looked closely. These were first exhibited there in 1909.

Here are some closeups of the murals. This artist was fearless!

One more breath-taking painting in that museum...

Monday, June 24, 2013

DOLLAR AUCTION WEEK: "At the Water's Edge"


Title: "At the Water's Edge"                  
Size: 12" x 16" 



Comment: "I love color, but light against dark or dark against light is essential. This simple floral illustrates the principle beautifully. Lilies are always classic."  --- SFG

Title: "Double Down"                  
Size: 12" x 12" 

Friday, June 21, 2013

DOLLAR AUCTION WEEK: "Mill and Mountain"


Title: "Mill and Mountain"                  
Size: 11" x 14"

"This has always been my favorite painting of McCloud, California, near Mt. Shasta."  -- SFG

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DOLLAR AUCTION WEEK: "Summer Showers, Mt. Shasta"


Comment: "Shasta loses much of its snow in summer, but cloudbursts like this one maintain its drama. If you are familiar with my work, you know that I am often painting an atmospheric effect, along with the obvious subject."  --- SFG

Title: "Summer Showers, Mt. Shasta"                  
Size: 24" x 24" 



"Clear Day" 

Comment: "Strong contrasts are the result of brilliant sunlight. This subject offered a strong composition and lovely color." --- SFG
Size: 16" x 20" 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DOLLAR AUCTION WEEK: "Variation on a Theme #6"


Comment: "When my winter-weary rose bushes break into their springtime flourish, I often paint several paintings of the arrangement, changing the angle and composition each time. As I entered the photo of this work, I noticed that I had photos of the set up of vases and a shot of my palette. The series is included in my book Wet Paint, the Painting Classroom and was featured on my blog, as well."  --- SFG

Title: "Variation on a Theme #6"                  
Size: 11" x 14" 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



Comment: "Snow-capped Mt. Shasta can be seen for over a 100 miles in northern California and, in my mind, is the queen of the Sierras. This summer evening image shows the shadowed forest at her feet while the red-hued base and sunlit snow glow behind. Since my husband is a pilot, I couldn't help notice the lens-shaped clouds trailing to the northwest as the mountain wave condensed the moisture on the far side.(It can be quite thrilling to unexpectedly encounter that wave in flight.)"  --- SFG

Title: "Shasta Lennies"                  
Size: 24" x 30" 

Monday, June 17, 2013



"This icy day called for cool tones that contrasted with the lemon sky. The sky, in turn, reflected off the snow in the foreground. The scene is in the Sierras in northeastern California."  --- SFG

Title: "Thin Ice"                  
Size: 24" x 30" 



"I loved the lively colors of this patio setting at the home of fellow artist Ann Laddon. The dappled light and reflections from the wine glass brought the scene to life. (The food was outstanding, too.) The image was used for the local event's promotions. (Wish I could remember which one.)"  --- SFG

Title: "Ann's Table"                  
Size: 16" x 20" 

Sunday, June 16, 2013



"Red and Blue" 

Comment: "Painting still life is as exciting to me as the most challenging landscape or figure. I love to work the paint and play with color. Here, I kept the color range simple, depending on the value changes to describe the objects." --- SFG
Size: 14" x 18" 

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Cassis Harbor"


"Cassis Harbor" - Oil - 18" x 24"

"There is nothing I love doing more than painting and traveling! One of my trips to France included a stop in Cassis, right on the Mediterranean. The clear light and pastel colors make every scene sparkle. These buildings, right on the waterfront, hosted many boats, work boats and pleasure boats, alike." --- SFG

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Jumble of Roses"

"Jumble of Roses" - Oil - 18" x 24"

"I don't mind if people select a painting 'to match the sofa'. Since I was an interior designer originally, I am sensitive to the environment where a work is hung and need harmony within my own space. This one could be used in a dining room, living, family, or great room, or a bedroom. The correct frame can stretch its use from informal to classic." --- SFG

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Sunset at Moonstone Beach"

"Sunset at Moonstone Beach" - Oil - 11" x 14"

"Dramatic sunsets are treasures and I was entranced by this one. Artists watch for cloud formations well before sunset to know whether it is worth setting up the easel and painting with both hands to get it before it disappears ... or do what I did for this one, take a picture. ;)" --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Use photos, but paint the real thing often enough to educate your eye to the subject and the limitations of photographs.

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Ghost Ranch Icon"

"Ghost Ranch Icon" - Oil - 11" x 14"

"I felt the weight of responsibility to produce a good painting when I stood where Georgia O'Keeffe painted one of her more famous works. Ghost Ranch is a wondrous setting and these spires are typical of the region's geology. Sunshine and deep blue skies enforced the vivid colors." --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: This piece evolved into a more experimental application of paint as I worked. If you see something good happening in a work, go with it!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

"Monday's Clouds"

"Monday's Clouds" - Oil - 14" x 11"

"The drama and contrast of brilliantly lit clouds is a wonderful subject. I took advantage of the the trees' dark sillouettes to set them off.." --- SFG

Friday, June 07, 2013

"Su Casa"

"Su Casa" - Oil - 9" x 12"

"Brilliant southern California sun washes over every tile roof and whitewashed fence to the delight of a painter's eye. This one, near Santa Ynez had lovely tones in the shadows and was balanced by the dense trees around it." --- SFG

Thursday, June 06, 2013

"Convict Lake in Autumn"

"Convict Lake in Autumn" - Oil - 6" x 6"

"Here is another small work depicting the area around Convict Lake near Mammouth, California. Its contrasting hues in autumn are wonderful for quick sketches." --- SFG

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


"Change" - Oil - 6" x 6"

"Vivid yellows and oranges of the cottonwood trees of autumn are wonderful contrasts to the distant mountains near Bishop, California. That year, snow was early and added its accent." --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Quick, small works should be approached as simple shapes used to create the composition. John Clymer, whose enormous murals are breathtakingly displayed at the Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, said that he was somewhat surprised that the larger the painting, the more detail he had to put in. I have found that the opposite is true for small works. Though some artists are willing to pass out magnifying glasses so viewers can see the detail in their small works, I am not so inclined.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

"Double Down"

"Double Down" - Oil on Canvas Panel - 12" x 12"

 "Lilies are always classic."  --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: I love color, but light against dark or dark against light is essential. This simple floral illustrates the principle beautifully.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Signed It!

"I don't have a title for this piece yet, but it was such a delight to paint. In Igo, a tiny hamlet near our home, my husband and I found this lilac bush on a Sunday drive. It was in unusual profusion this year. Two days later, I returned and painted it with enthusiastic brush strokes." --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: Whether I paint on location or in the studio, I usually leave the painting sitting in view for a while. Though this one was almost perfect, I saw a few minor adjustments to make. The only time I'd sign it right away would be if a buyer was writing the check. ;)