Cats on Quilts, Trumpet Players, and Kite Flyers

Riley Oil on Canvas 8" x 10"

Oil on Canvas
8″ x 10″

When Riley passed earlier this year, I was asked to make a commemorative painting for his family.  His portrait is a combination of several photos, resulting in a picture of him laying in one of his favorite spots at home.  The texture of his coat really jumps out at me, I was pleased with the way it turned out.  His emerald green eyes were also a treat to capture.

Freddie Hubbard Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"

Freddie Hubbard
Oil on Canvas
16″ x 20″

Jazz legend, Freddie Hubbard, takes center stage in my color portrait inspired by a popular black-and-white image. I watched several videos of Freddie in action and wanted to meld what I knew about the artist with an iconic image.  Passionate playing seemed his style, so I made him play with greater ‘oomph’ in my piece, bending into the trumpet and furrowing his brow.

Karen's Painting Oil on Canvas 8" x 10"

Oil on Canvas
8″ x 10″

A few summers ago, I regularly attended picnics on the grounds of Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.  The scenes created there were testimony to the simple life led in a small country community outside of the city.  My summer nights in Bryn Athyn were spent playing Bocci on the lawn, exchanging recipes, star-gazing, and flying kites.  I hope to create many more paintings of my experiences there!


Josie and Ginny

Painting 6

Josie and Ginny were adopted by one of my family members several years ago and are greatly loved.  Last summer, I was asked to create a portrait of them as a surprise for their owner.  Ginny, the calico cat, and Josie, the orange tabby, both love lounging on the back of their couch and soaking up rays of sun.

This painting was created by copying a photograph and adjusting elements so the cats face viewers.  The venetian blinds and plaid pillows were a welcome challenge to capture, I hope to paint more patterns and geometric shapes in the future.

Mr. Tumnus


Ideas for this tongue-in-cheek piece began last October, when a friend commissioned me for a portrait of her pet pug, Mr. Tumnus.   My friend wanted Tumnus to be regal and proper, reminiscent of Percy the Pug from Disney’s Pocahontas.

Together, we brainstormed Mr. Tumnus’ portrait as a mixture of High Renaissance Art with a Percey-esque theme.   I responded by capturing an image of him standing on a cushy red pillow and wearing a blue cape and floppy black hat.  His outfit and stance were loosely inspired by the clothing and backwards glance of Italian Renaissance banker and art enthusiast Bindo Altoviti in the portrait of Altoviti by Raphael.  The rose and muted tones of my painting were also inspired by other Renaissance portraits.


Portrait of Bindo Altoviti by Raphael, c. 1514. Author: Attilios. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

This has to be one of my favorite pieces in a long time;  it’s a refreshing take on my usual pet portraits!

White-Breasted Nuthatch II

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Hanging on my wall for weeks, this painting of a White-Breasted Nuthatch was begging for a touch up. I’ve learned quite a bit more about White-Breasted Nuthatches since creating this piece, and have become a more skilled birder in general.

With an upturned bill, larger foot, and bold chestnut patches highlighting its back flanks, the bird of this painting more accurately represents a White-Breasted Nuthatch than the subject of my earlier post. Chestnut highlights are a key feature that sets the White-Breasted Nuthatch apart from similar species found in North America, such as the Pygmy Nuthatch, Brown-Headed Nuthatch, and Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

I love revisiting paintings with a fresh eye!


Marcus Sushi

Not much beats a fresh roll of sushi in my book!   I love eating a simple roll of rice and nori, filled with raw fish and covered with masago.

This simple painting was made for a friend, who had the marvelous idea to commission several of his artist friends for a Japanese or city-themed piece for his personal collection.  I decided to use both of his Japanese and city themes by making a Philadelphia Roll, stuffed with salmon, cream cheese, avocado, and cucumber.  The Philadelphia Roll combines Japanese culture with our hometown, Philly.

Since my friend is a big fan of gummy bears, I added a blue gummy for dessert.

Red-winged Blackbird Females

Red-Winged Black Birds

I was excited to paint this image! This picture seemed special to me, two girls enjoying a calm day by the water. Unlike boldly colored males, the subtle coloring of these females lets them hide in the reeds.

Red-winged Blackbirds, an avian species native to North and Central America, love to spend time in reeds, grassy fields, and meadows. They are a common sight for me in Philadelphia; I see them mostly in the marshes at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, on the banks of the Schuylkill River, and occasionally at Cobbs Creek Park.

This painting is the copy of a photo taken in Newark, Delaware.  These birds were found by a drainage pond on the University of Delaware’s campus.  It’s amazing what can become habitat in tight spaces!  I’ve posted the picture below to illustrate the similarities between the photo and my painting, but I encourage you to check out the original webpage linked above as well.


Waiting for a Walk

Dogs for Blog

One of my favorite things growing up were the kitty stretches I would see when my cat was begging to go outside.   Whenever I stood by our glass slider, my cat would join me, balancing on her back toes stretching her front paws waist level next to me on the glass.  I feel like these dogs are sharing my cat’s sentiments, and can almost hear their thoughts:  “can we go out now? please??”

I was excited to get this commission from my usual hairdresser at Talking Headz in Philadelphia, after getting on the subject of art during my latest trim.  Lesson learned: commissions can turn up in the least expected places!

Maine and Miss Midnight


Receiving commissions is one of my favorite things, and this was the painting that started them all in Philadelphia!

Last fall, my friend Tori, of Tori Collins Photography, commissioned this portrait of her longtime kitty friends, Maine and Miss Midnight.  This painting rejuvenated my interest in pursuing painting as a career, and here I am today with several more commissions under way.  Thanks a bunch, Tori!