“Cy” Tree

red orange tree

16×20 Acrylic and Impasto on Canvas.

I did this painting because of a previous posting I did a painting called red tree. I had the red tree in my office and a colleague thought I needed one next to it. Both paintings have a black frame for canvas. I bought mine from Amazon and they work great for canvas. They are attached to the canvas by velcro.

I am calling it “cy tree” because I used some gold and red in the tree and I am an Iowa State alumni and that is our school colors. Of course I do know that when those two colors are mixed together they create an orange color but there are some gold highlights. I did add a little bit of white, black and two shades of red.

The impasto was used only on the background. I used a pallet knife and mixed it with the black and white paint and “scraped” the paint from the edges inward. I also mixed it with the brush for the middle. Anyone who has worked with impasto knows it takes a little longer to dry. I set this aside for a couple of days and I added the trunk and branches. Then did the layers of the trees. I started with the dark colors, then the mixture of red and finishing with the highlights.

I don’t know how this looks with the original red tree but I am okay with it for now. I may decide to separate them. The red tree is centered in the space, where as this goes outside the “box”. Sometimes I like to think outside the box.

Be Our Guest sign

IMG_07968.5×27 Inch acrylic and stain on wood.

I made this home decor by cutting the wood to fit the lettering I wanted to apply. I used a “8 inch” board, but they are never a true 8 inches. I used a 1.5×1 inch board for the boarder.

I stained all of the wood and all sides of the border but only the top on the largest board. I let the stain dry over night then applied some white acrylic paint. I did paint it thicker in some areas and after it was dry I lightly sanded it, applying more pressure on the edges.

I picked the quote, “be our guest”, only because it is a different way of saying welcome. I did not do it after the Beauty and the Beast movie, however I did have the song, Be Our Guest, in my head. Okay, I am thinking of that song right now. Then I hand painted the letters on with black acrylic paint. Once the top was dry, I glued the border on and used finishing nails for extra support. I also applied a light layer of clear varnish on the top.

Time to find a spot to place it.

Texture Glass Art

1F4AF6D4-BEE9-4338-A42E-4C266CABFE07Approximately 8 1/4 x 14 1/4

I drew this piece up to basically use up some glass I had on hand. I have collected the different textured glass over the years  and decided to add just a small amount of color. The glass beads were also left over from a previous project.  They are purchased by the bag so they last awhile.

The challenge of this piece is to make the round cut. I don’t have the tools to make a good round cut so I used my grinder. It took awhile but I was able to get it done.

This is a more modern piece that I would normally do but it was fun to explore a new option.

Kitchen Makeover 2

before and after 2before and after 1I will be the first to admit that this kitchen became a bit of a challenge. This is the original 1970’s cabinets and once I started to work on them, I realized the builder used the cheapest wood. It was a plywood and over the years they were dry and in some places, the finish was coming off. I am always up for a challenge though.

The homeowner decided to take advise, from several people, and give this kitchen a makeover. He called and said if I have anyone do this, I want you. I was very excited that he decided to get this changed. He was concerned that it would have brush marks but I reassured him that it wouldn’t.

I started with a degreaser and a scuff pad and rubbed the surface hard. I found some grease that didn’t want to come off so I scuffed and cleaned a little more. It was also time to remove the hardware and let the cabinets sit over night.

The part that I would do over is use a kilz primer. This wood was so dry and I was painting the doors in the garage and then it rained and the humidity made it take longer to dry between coats. I used a smooth surface roller to paint on the Dutchboy kitchen semigloss paint.


I also painted the window trim, the floor boards and the back entry way. If you look at the top before photo, it looks very dark in the back entryway. Painting all of this  white brightened this kitchen up.

He put in nice hardwood floors before I painted and I was using a lot of plastic to cover it. I wished he would have waited but it all worked out. He also installed new countertop and a back splash. Top it off with new appliances and sink it is like new. He is very pleased. I also like that he now has the microwave over the stove and not a big one on the countertop.


Entertainment Center Make-Over

I have owned this corner entertainment center for a few years now. I bought it in a dark wood to match the woodwork in my craftsman bungalow. I sold my house and I didn’t have room for it in my current house. My doors were narrow so the crown molding had to be removed before removing it from my house.

My mom has always had her tv in the corner of her living room. After some long thought she decided she would replace her 80’s cabinet and wanted to paint it a gun metal flat black. It does look dark gray in certain lighting but it is actually dark. She bought a Behr paint from Home Depot and it did have primer included but it covered very nicely. Yes, I was going darker and that helps but it was a good paint to work with.

To prep the wood I used a degreaser to remove any polish I had put on it before hand. I used a scuff pad to rub over all of the surface and took off the finish, then wiped off with a microfiber cloth. I would have used a cheese cloth but I forgot to get one and the microfiber cloth worked well. I let it sit over night because it was brought in from a cold temperature storage. I did take the hardware off as well. When I did start to paint I used a small roller for smooth surfaces and had a small brush for corners and the molding. I don’t use flat paint that often so I am not used to not having a shiny surface but that is what the customer (mom) wanted.


Draft Horse Drawing

Draft horse drawing16×20 Pencil Drawing

I went to Heritage Park in Forest City, IA for their horse and mule show and I knew a couple that owned a team of Percherons. I took several pictures for them but this horse and I had a bond. Her name is Frannie. Once I saw this photo, I thought, I need to draw that. I will find that I could be holding on to an idea or image and it will stay in my head until I put it down on paper or canvas.

I have been painting horses lately but I knew right away that I wanted to do this in pencil. It may be that it was a black horse with a black harness. I feel that I was able to get more detail in the harness with pencil then I would have in paint.

I was told from the owner that Frannie is the more spirited one of the two. Maybe that is why she kept looking for me when I was taking her picture. I wonder how they can tell them apart.

Red Tree Painting

tree in red

16×20 Acrylic paint, impasto, pallet knife and brush on canvas

The background has impasto mixed with the black and white paint. I spread it on with a pallet knife and a little bit with a paint brush. I wanted the edges to be darker and show the lines of the knifes edge. Because I used impasto it becomes thicker, therefore, it takes longer to dry.

The tree- I chose to use two shades of reds along with black and white. I chose red because it would stand out to the background. I do have a little bit of red in the truck of the tree as well. My favorite Fall color is the red maple tree. I could use this just for Fall but I would use this all year long.

Flowering Tree

flower-tree painting

8×16 Acrylic and impasto painting on canvas.

This small painting was an experiment I wanted to do to explore more with impasto. I never did get the look I was hoping for but I think I need to try it in a larger scale. Over all, I am pleased with the colors. I have four different colors in the background, 4-5 in the tree and three in the purple flowers. I do try to have depth when I paint and using multiple colors does help that.

I will continue to do more exploring until I get the technique with the impasto, brush and pallet knife.

A Vintage Drawing

my grandma drawing

11×14 pencil and colored powder.

I did this drawing from a photo that I love and it happens to be my grandma. Since I do not have the original photo, I thought I would re-create it for myself. My grandma was born in 1906 and we are guessing this was taken around 1010. She probably had to sit still for awhile for a photo to be taken but one of my favorite thing about vintage photos is the way the hand painting applied on them.

When I first started this drawing, I intended to leave it just black and white but no, I wanted a subtle color added. The pipping on her dress looked like a hot pink watercolor paint and a little was added on the locket. I used a dark pink colored pencil. The cheeks I used actual blush from my makeup. I used a paint brush and not one that I use on myself. The blue eyes and on the bow are blue so I used blue eye shadow. I used bronzing foundation powder on the dress but it didn’t show up as well but I highlighted some areas with a tan eye shadow and it seemed to work.

Colorizing a drawing was a fun experience and I found I love to do vintage photos. I just wished my grandmas was here to see it.

Pantry Sign

14×46 inch stain and acrylic on wood.

I was honored when I was asked to make this custom sign for a brand new home. The request was a simple non serif font to reflect an older grocery store sign. She also requested 3-4 boards and I used four.

I use layers to treat the wood. I start by a dark stain. After drying over night, I apply a white wash acrylic white paint. As it dries it will lighten so I may need to add more white until I have the way I want it. I also grab a little bit of color paint and mixed in there randomly. It appears to be gray when I don’t add any gray paint. Her walls were painted gray so it worked well.

I do not use a stencil for the letters. I use a ruler to make it straight and draw in the letters to make sure I have the spacing correct, then paint over the marks with black acrylic paint.