Author Archives: debrha

Oil Painting: White Mum

6 inches square, oil on hardboard

6 inches square, oil on hardboard

I had fun working on this little white mum yesterday. White in shadow can be a mental puzzle. I recently watched some interesting painting videos by David Shevlino. He has a quick still life demo where he repaints a stack of lemons about 5 times. His paintings are so fresh and bright – nothing muddy or muddled. Oil paint is very forgiving. In a moment you can just wipe off a problem. I struggle with mushy paintings, and muddy colors sometimes. I think the solution is making interesting, deliberate brushstrokes, rather than getting anything right the first time. I had to double check his name on my pinterest painting inspiration board, just chock full of amazing paintings that I love.

Oil Painting: Tulips

12 by 12 inches, oil on canvas

12 by 12 inches, oil on canvas

A new painting, just in time for spring. It felt great to be at the easel again.

Meet me at Zapatista in Northbrook tonight from 6 to 8 p.m.! Fellow Glenview Art League member Lee Mariani and I will be there for an art show and reception.

Tend Magazine


In graphic design news, I’m happy to announce that the first issue of Tend Magazine is available now! Tend is a celebration of living in tune with the seasons, a labor of love produced by a special group of contributors and our fearless editor. Click the image above to visit the Tend website, where you can preview and purchase the online publication. See more of my design work here, and contact me for help with your graphic design projects!

Oil Painting: Bent Tree

9 by 16 inches, oil on hardboard

9 by 16 inches, oil on hardboard

Here is a studio painting from photos I took early last spring. The west fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River runs through the Techny Basin Conservation Area just north of here.

Oil painting: pink bouquet

10 by 10 inches, oil on hardboard

10 by 10 inches, oil on hardboard

Here’s another piece that’s been unfinished for a while — now complete. It’s the second painting I’ve made of this bouquet. We picked it for one of Holly’s preschool teachers. I may have made us late taking pictures and sketching it before we left for school. The first painting was purchased by that same preschool teacher at one of the Glenview summer art fairs :). We love you Mrs. Bell!

This has given me a little spring fix in the depths of winter. We have a long way to go before we see these blooms popping up again. Click on the painting above to see it in my shop.

Special (belated) note: my teacher and friend Tim Lowly has a large and amazing exhibit at the the Visual Arts Center of the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, Iowa. The show ends soon, on January 26. See it if you can! I was honored to design the book which accompanies this remarkable exhibition. You can click on the image below for a list of places to buy it.

Trying to Get a Sense of Scale

Trying to Get a Sense of Scale

Oil painting: Hawkweed


I started this one a couple months ago and stalled a while. Here it is, freshly finished. I’ve done several other foliage-focused paintings like this one: Markweed and Common Boneset are two. They are fascinating to work on.

Hawkweed comes in orange and yellow varieties, and is related to dandelion and chicory. I took a picture of this particular one in Ludington, Michigan on a great camping trip last summer.

Click on the painting to see it and other available work in my Etsy shop.

Plein Air: Lake Glenview

18 by 10 inches, oil on hardboard

18 by 10 inches, oil on hardboard

Mostly cloudy today, and very cold – about 10 degrees. There is ice on the lake and snow yet in the grass.

I’ve painted near this lake before. This time I set up on the north end and looked west. The sun was behind hazy clouds so it was dimmed and everything had a warm glow, almost other-worldly. I happened to have a brownish-orange toned board with me that worked out pretty well.

On her terrific blog Rose Schuring has encouraged everyone to get out there and paint – thanks for the extra motivation and inspiration, Rose! She has also been very generous in sharing her art business expertise.

Click on the painting to see it and other available paintings in my shop.

Oil Painting: Skokie Lagoons, West

12 inches square, oil on hardboard

12 inches square, oil on hardboard

Here is another view of the Skokie Lagoons, painted indoors from photos I took last week. I love this warm, angled light of winter. Here I’m facing west. I-94 is just beyond the far trees.

I watched a couple of interesting painting videos recently. One was part of an Art21 episode about Rackstraw Downs, where he reflects on painting the altered landscape. Another was David Hockney: The Bigger Picture.

Oil Painting: Pears in Sun


8 by 8 inches, oil on hardboard

8 by 8 inches, oil on hardboard

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here are some blushing pears in morning sunlight, painted from life, while wearing wool socks and listening to Christmas music. Hot colors today, whew. I’m in the middle of “What are You Looking At” by Will Gompertz – a story of 150 years of modern art. It’s good.

Plein air: Skokie Lagoons



Meredith and I went out for some painting by the Skokie Lagoons this morning. It was still cold, but not so bitter. We brought hot cider along and kept our session short since we had to meet Holly’s bus. My painting is above, and here’s Meredith’s lovely landscape:



I made a little pochade box out of a pre-made wood box from Joannes. Meredith tried it out today. Holly decorated it for me last night, inside and out. The box attaches to a tripod I picked up at a garage sale a while ago. It has a very tiny mixing area, but it’s pretty handy. I used some tips from this video.



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