December 12, 2012

Finally Able to Post Comments Again

For the longest time I felt crippled on Blogger, I could not leave comments in blogs that have the embedded comment form, including mine. I could not respond to the nice people that took the time to leave comments on my own blog. I'd write my note, and the moment I hit "post" the comment would disappear, vanish in digital mystery.
Today I finally took the time to research it and discovered that I had unchecked  "accept third party cookies" in my browser settings.
As soon as I checked that little box again Abracadabra! I could leave comments again!
I wish I looked into it months ago!!! It took a special day like 12/12/12 to do it. :)

Now I need to get back into the wonderful habit of leaving comments. :) 

November 27, 2012

Downtown Columbus - Acrylic Painting

8" x 10" (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
Acrylic on Canvas
This is a landscape painting of my city, Columbus, OH, rendered with my latest passion: the vibrant brushstroke technique, like the trees on the previous posts.

It is a study for a much bigger piece. It helps to start small and then tackle the bigger size, it feels (a little) less intimidating. New technique and big size can be a lot to handle.

I haven't being posting on the blog in a while, not because I have been unproductive, but because I'm mainly drawing, writing, and experimenting with paint nowadays, and I rather not post my experiments. I love the perceived freedom when I make art knowing that is for no-one to see. It gives me the courage to dare, be brave, make mistakes.

One of the fun things I've been doing lately is checking out art books and DVDs at the local libraries and immersing myself in the world of art knowledge. So fascinating! 
I'm reading, admiring, and learning a lot. More I learn and more I see my limitations, so I want to learn more. It's a great vicious cycle. :)

November 5, 2012

Vibrant Tree - Colorful Acrylic Landscape Painting

I find something very liberating in allowing myself a short time span to complete a painting, and it's even better when I am using an inexpensive support, like this canvas paper, much cheaper than stretched canvas, but still with nice texture and tooth.
When I paint these vibrant trees I don't mix paint on the palette, but I load my brush with different colors and let them mix on the canvas. You never quite know what the exact result will be for each brushstroke, and this makes it so much fun.
I love those trikes of different hues on each stroke, and the colorful ground color peaking throu and unifying the painting.
As the previous Vibrant Trees, this also has been inspired by my recently discover of the book Vibrant Acrylics, by Hashim Akib. Thank you Hashim!

October 10, 2012

Aerial Perspective in Art

Aerial (or atmospheric) perspective has always fascinated me.

I love looking at the colors fade and observing the shifts of values  in the distance.
It keeps me entertained when I drive, and  captivates me when I look at art.

Reading about aerial perspective in art books inspired me to write an article about it and share it on
If you wish to read it,  click here.

October 6, 2012

A Landscape View From our Vacation in Mexico Last year

"View of Tulum"
18" x 24" (45.7 cm x 61 cm)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas, Framed

Last year we went to the Riviera Maya, and it was the first family vacation for the four of us ever, unless you count when we go to Italy to see our folks, but that's home, different from a full blown vacation.
We had a wonderful time, and I took several photos. This is one of my favorites and I have wanted to paint it ever since.

Finally I completed the painting. It took me a while, I got frustrated and I set the painting aside for several weeks, and then brought it out again to continue painting with fresh eyes.

Seeing it next to the photo, it looks quite different, starting from the sand that is not as white, but when I tried to paint it clear, the big light area was getting too much attention, distracting from the rocks and the ancient building, which I wanted to be the center of interest. So I darkened the sand and changed few things accordingly.
Looking back it was a fun process, and the thing that makes me happier about this painting is recognizing how much I learned doing it. :)

Prints Available

How would you like to hang a print of this view in your home?
The original painting is still available, or you can have it printed any size of your choice and on any support. Check it out!

This sounds like an appropriate quote to close today:

"The journey is the reward."
~Chinese Proverb
Example of how a framed print would look like

September 24, 2012

Vibrant Tree Acrylic Painting

Vibrant Tree
6" x 6"
Acrylic on Canvas

I found this amazing and inspiring book on acrylic painting at my local library: Vibrant Acrylics, by Hashim Akib. Oh, was I inspired!
I know I have a long way to go before I can paint as vibrantly, loosely, and instinctively as Hashim Akib, but I simply love his technique of starting from colored grounds and let the paint mix on the canvas. I painted this small tree following his tips and advice.

My colored base is mixed from cerulean blue, phtalo green, and titanium white and I let it see through in between brushstrokes. I love how that effect can unify a painting.
It turns out the book was only a 14 day lease, and someone else had it booked it so I could not renew it so I had to return the book to the library. Considering to make the purchase...

September 19, 2012

Cow on Swisse Alps - Acrylic Landscape

"High Pastures"
18" x 24" (45.7 cm x 61 cm)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

It as been good getting back to the easel after too many months. I thought I forgot how to paint, I felt so rusty. But that subsided soon, thank Goodness, and the usual fun that I get with each new painting kicked in. Yay! :)

Life is still too busy for my likings, some days I totally feel overwhelmed by the need of taking care of too many things. When I carve out the time to dip my brushes in paint and get creative, I forget about everything else and I enjoy it so much. :)

I painted High Pastures for the painting challenge of A Day Not Wasted. Thanks Lee Brown for sharing your beautiful photos with artists and creating these stimulating challenges! I learned a lot painting my first cow and first mountains. It makes me want to paint more.

I enjoyed painting this landscape so much that I even wrote an article about it, explaining the process step by step. 

Prints available at
Art Prints 

September 9, 2012

What to Paint: Things To Decide Before Starting a Painting

9"x12" Acrylic on Canvas
The success of a painting often is already decided before the first brushstroke hits the canvas.

Even for artists that don't like too much planning and preparatory work, and prefer to jump right in and start painting, following their instincts - and this is very much how I am - there are many decisions that must be made before and during the creative process. Each decision can drastically change the look and the overall feeling of the paint.

Many questions musy be answered by the artist, consciously or not:
  • What am I going to paint?
  • What mood and feelings am I going to convey?
  • What kind of shapes and lines will I use in my composition?
  • What size will my painting support, my brushstrokes, and my color areas be?
  • What paint medium(s) will I use?
  • What techniques and textures will I incorporate?
  • What color scheme will I follow?
 I wrote an article about  this critical process "What to Paint: Things To Decide Before Starting a Painting".  You can read the complete article on

August 9, 2012

Back home

I'm back from my vacation, recharged and ready to go.
I went to Italy with my kids, stayed with my parents, saw many great friends, ate good food, and visited great places.
Here is a photo of me in St. Mark's Square, Venice. It was a very hot day, but the kids and I made it through and had a great visit.

July 21, 2012

Squirrel Painting - Sold to my youngest fan

Urban Wildlife
Acrylic on Canvas
5"x7" SOLD
I sold this piece to a wonderful 7-year-old girl, my youngest and wonderful fan, also a squirrel lover.
She went home and did her own interpretation of it, and her mom sent me a picture, which I'm not publishing for privacy reasons.
In the photo she's holding my painting next to her artwork. The squirrel she painted is really great, much bigger, same posture, same colors, and really proportioned.
I am so impressed and moved!
It really warmed my heart. :)

July 16, 2012

The Rule of Thirds - I wrote an article about it

The rule of thirds has been used to create appealing painting compositions by the greatest masters with remarkable results.
To read my article, click on

There are two things in the painter, 
the eye and the mind; 
each of them should aid the other.
Paul Cezanne

July 8, 2012

Japanese Maple Tree Acrylic Painting

Japanese Maple Tree #2
Acrylic on Canvas, framed

The painting in the photo is one of my latest, a second version of my favorite Japanese Maple Tree, from the Portland Garden. The colors are a little off on this picture, I'll try to load a better one later I wish I had taken a photo before varnishing...
I really love this Maple Tree, it has become my favorite tree to paint. And every time I paint it I already know I will try a different technique, which makes it even more fun! :)

And some rumbling...
Oh boy!  I survived this busy period, and now I have a new focus on my mind.
After 4 weeks of kids swimming lessons, nine articles written for, 72 hours of power outage, a freezer full of defrosted meat that needed cooking, three trees fallen from our neighbors yard onto ours, two days at my first Art Fair Event at 102 F (39 C) degrees, and probably something else but I can't think about it now... Oh My! as Anastasia Steele would say - (Yes, I'm reading Fifty Shades of Grey.)
I am now switching gears to focus on my next venture: packing and getting ready to fly to my parents, with the kids. Yay! Italy, I'm coming! :))

BTW, the Art Fair went really well. Despite the heat, I really had a great time meeting people and other artists.

Me at the Dublin Art Fair

July 5, 2012

My First Art Fair

Bouquet 1

I'm so excited! Tomorrow I'll be at the Dublin, OH Art Fair with my own booth.
It may not sound like a big deal to many, but for me it's quite an event.
It's going to be my first Art Fair, and I am a little nervous but also very excited for the great opportunity.
A true ice breaker, and a wonderful learning experience.

Unfortunately the forecast announced 105 F for tomorrow and Saturday.  I hope I don't melt in the process.

The Dublin Art Fair, on 6-7 July 2012.

My Favorite Maple Tree

Maple Tree
Watercolor painting
After two acrylic paintings of the same Japanese maple tree from the Portland's Japanese Garden,  I tried it with watercolors as well. A fun project. :)

June 19, 2012

Still Life Painting of White Lilies in Red Vase

White Lilies
16" x 20"
Acrylic on Canvas
This painting of white lilies has been inspired by the online painting challenge Paint and Draw Together, by Lela Stankovic.
I first sketched it with graphite on paper, and started painting looking at the sketch. Then I printed a black and white photo and used it as guide to get the values right.
Only at the very end I looked at the color picture, mainly to fix the reflections on the vase. I had fun! :)

June 4, 2012

Cypress and Olive Trees

Cypress and Olive Trees, 9" x 12", watercolor
Three things I associate with Tuscany: lines of cypresses, bluish olive trees, and hills.
This watercolor has all three, and kind of makes me home sick.
I keep painting Tuscany, even though I'm actually from Venice, where the landscape is totally different, but Tuscany has always been a joy for my eyes and soul every time I visited, and I enjoy representing it with watercolors.
The best part, I love how I learn something with each painting. :)

May 30, 2012

Another Italian Landscape - Watercolor Painting

Tuscan Landscape, Watercolor, 9" x 12"

Here comes another of the Tuscany Hills watercolors.
When I use acrylics I'm much bolder with colors because I know I can paint over if I don't like it, but with watercolors I'm quite conservative and almost shy when loading the brush.
They also dry lighter than they look when wet, so the result is a pale palette, but I like it. :)

Tuscan Hills - Watercolor Painting

Tuscan Hills, Watercolor, 9" x 12"

I've been attending a watercolor group that meets every Tuesday, and I was pretty much the only one working with acrylics. Seeing the wonderful things that the others were creating with watercolors, really inspired me to try some on my own.
I had several pictures saved in my computer from Google street view in Tuscany, and here is the painting of the second of those.
I really enjoy experimenting with watercolors. :)

May 13, 2012

Italian Landscape - watercolor painting

Cypress Shadows, Watercolor, 9"x12"

One day I was in Google Street View, looking around the Italian Tuscan countryside, and I found so many great views. Besides making me a little homesick, it also inspired me to paint them, so I saved several images in a folder.
This painting is from one of those photos, I don't remember exactly where it was, but surely in the neighborhoods of San Gimignano.
I was inspired to start painting this particular view by the Daily Paint Work challenge of the week: The Shadow Challenge.
It has been fan to play with watercolors again, I think I want to do another one. Hopefully soon. :)

"Constant development is the law of life, 
and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas
 in order to appear consistent
 drives himself into a false position."   
 - Mohandas K. Gandhi

May 10, 2012

Drawing of roses, ink pen and colored pencils

Drawing of roses, ink pen and colored pencils

Another drawing from my sketchbook venture. This time the inspiration are the lovely roses posted by Evhe in her blog A Nos Pinceaux. I found her painting challenge photos most inspiring, recently.

 Also, tonight I went to the local Dublin Area Art League (DAAL) meeting and Spring Awakenings Show reception. While I'm quite new to the DAAL, they welcomed me in such a friendly and caring way, that made me very comfortable, and I even got the chance to entered two paintings in the spring art show. Below is a photo of me next to my Daffodils

I have two paintings in the DAAL Spring Art Show; my first "official" show. :)

May 5, 2012

I had fun making this collage of geraniums

Paper collage, 18cm x 25 cm

I signed up for the local Sketchbook Venture. They gave me a blank sketchbook, with thin pages, and I am supposed to fill it with images and words, following a theme of my choice. 
All sketchbooks entering the venture will be displayed at an exhibit, and then kept available at the local library.  "Cool!" I thought, but now I'm intimidated and I proceed very slowly, maybe too slowly, since there is a deadline. 
One thing is doing sketches for your own sake, completely unrelated to each other, and knowing nobody will ever see them, another thing is sketching for a public projects, and following a theme.
Well, I haven't even settled on a theme yet, but I started filling few pages, so far only with flower subjects.
This geranium collage filled one of the pages, and I really had fun ripping out magazine and making it.
I also made a drawing of the same geraniums.

I'm trying to work quickly on my sketches, using mainly pen and colored pencil. Sometimes I start drawing with graphite, that gives me the comfort of being erasable, and then I outline with pen.

Overall I'm happy with the Sketchbook Venture experience, but I hope I can get many more pages done before the cutoff date, less than two weeks from now.

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"
Vincent van Gogh

April 20, 2012

Japanese Maple Tree - Acrylic Landscape Painting

Japanese Maple Tree
16"x20" (40.6 cm x 50.8 cm)
Acrylic on stretched canvas, framed

In front of our first home there was a Japanese Maple Tree. We bought the house in November, and I had no idea that the naked twisty tree in the front yard could get so pretty and colorful (not many Japanese Maples in Italy, where I was coming from).

Spring is always a delight for me, and the first spring in the new house, I was so excited to discover what could be sprouting in the flower beds, what beautiful treasures were planted by strangers that lived there before us. There were tulips, daffodils, irises, but what really elated my heart was the little tree with the star shaped red leaves. A true delight.

When, more recently, I saw a picture of the Japanese Maple Tree from the Portland's Japanese garden, with those beautifully bent branches and bright leaves, it brought back cheerful memories, and renewed my sense of wonder for this amazing plant. I just had to paint it; and here it is. :)

I enjoyed using different acrylic painting techniques, like brushstrokes, painting knife, impasto, and glazing. How fun!
How a framed print would look like

Prints available at

April 2, 2012

Mare Aperto - Acrylic Seascape Painting

"Mare Aperto"  (Open Sea)
Acrylic on canvas board

Recently I heard many painters praising the the art of painting on location. I'm sure plein air painting has a special feel to it, the fact that you are there, breathing in the scene, and you can move even so slightly your head and perceive depth, lights and shadows at different levels makes a difference in the painting process and the end result.

Most of these fellow artists are oil painters. Unfortunately acrylics dry very quickly - and it is one of the reasons why I enjoy them, so I'm not complaining - and painting outdoors make them dry even faster. I tried painting en plein air with acrylics, but I found it extremely challenging: even using the Liquitex Slow-Dri Fluid Retarder I had trouble keeping the paint fluid. Maybe one day I'll try oils, who knows?

Anyway, for this painting Mare Aperto, I sure wish I could have painted on location! During the all painting time I could almost hear the waves crushing and the breeze blowing. I was only looking at a photo, but it made me travel with my fantasy. :)

April 2012

March 21, 2012

Albero - Tree, small acrylic painting

I came across this nice quote suitable for a lovely day like today:

"What is the meaning of life? 
To be happy and useful."  
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama 

March 12, 2012

Rich Peonies - acrylic still life painting

Rich Peonies
12"x12" (30.48 cm x 30.48 cm)
Acrylic on canvas

Something about this peonies gives me a rich and wealthy feeling. Not sure where I get if from: the abundance of petals, the background color, or the shiny vase. The fact is, I enjoyed painting them very much.
Oh, I can't forget to mention that I got the photo from an old painting challenge by Evhe, at A nos pinceaux.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Ciao :)

March 10, 2012

Daffodils - Acrylic still life painting 'revisited'

12x12 (30.48 cm x 30.48 cm)
Acrylic on canvas, framed

Photography Prints

I liked my Daffodils painting (previous post) but some things did not convince me 100%. When I took it to my painting group's critic day, I received several good comments, and some constructive critiques that confirmed my iffy feelings and made me decide to rework it.

Is it better now? I'm not sure, but I hope so, because there is no way back. :)

February 15, 2012

Daffodils - Still Life Acrylic Painting

12" x 12" (30.48 cm x 30.48 cm)
Acrylic on stretched canvas

Photography Prints
Another flowery still life painted for the A nos pinceaux challenge. I painted these daffodils, Narcisi in Italian, while it was snowing outside, can't wait for spring!
As usual I did not stick to the original colors, I had fun changing the color of the vase, trying to get a tetrad color scheme going: yellow, orange, violet, and blue.

This is the original photo that Evhe
posted for the painting challenge.

Tetrad color scheme shown on color wheel

February 13, 2012

Value does the work, Color gets the credit

According to the most – some – and a bit rule,
there are six possible variation of combining the value patters .
The smallest area has conveniently been placed on one of the sweet
spots, by the rule of thirds, and becomes the center of interest.

Even though color harmony is the most attractive quality of a painting, believe it or not, value is more important than color to the design and success of a composition .
Since color is most often what viewers of the painting will notice most, the values of color are important in determining...


February 7, 2012

Bouquet of flowers - acrylic still life painting

"Bouquet of flowers"
12" x 12" (30.48 x 30.48 cm)
Acrylic on stretched canvas

I'm way past he deadline for this: it was suppose to be for the January's A nos pinceaux painting challenge, but I was not happy with the background, so I kept going it until it made sense to me. 
I have to admit I ended up looking for ideas online, and getting inspired by Cezanne's background in his Flower's in vase. Now I'm pretty happy with it, and I learned a lot during the all painting process.  :))
Evhe has been so nice that she posted it on the challenge's blog even if I was late. :)

"I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping 
and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."
Paul Cezanne

January 18, 2012

View on the Olive Grove - acrylic landscape painting

"Vista sull'Uliveto"
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
11" x 14" (27.9 x 35.6 cm)
Finally my first painting posted for this year!

I painted this entirely from imagination, without any reference photo. It has been such an interesting process; I had fun and I think I learned quite a bit. 
The idea for the landscape came from memories of Tuscany, and the inspiration for the colors came from some new colors that I bought, very unusual for me - I usually mix my paint from the few basic colors, I did not own any fancy hues. Like a child I was super excited to try them all - you should have seen how psychedelic it looked after the first hour! Then, layer after layer, I toned it down. 
Now I'm quite happy with it, I find it relaxing, despite the yellow sky. :)

January 6, 2012

Acrylic painting for beginners: getting started in 10 easy steps

To become a better artist: Paint often, have fun, and enjoy the process. :)
Image: Tulip field study, acrylic on paper.

The 10 things you need to know to get started with acrylics.
Answering the 10 basic questions for a beginner painter 
that wants to start painting with acrylics.

"What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. 

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."