Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finished the year with this fun job...



...for a lucky young girl who loves frogs.

 2011 has been a fairly good year for me.  I am fortunate that I have had somewhat steady work in this slow economy , thanks to my wonderful and loyal clients who continue to challenge me with new and interesting projects.   I wish for better times for everyone in 2012.  Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Rapids

8x10 oil

Today is the winter solstice - the first day of winter - but it felt more like April today with temperatures in the high 50's.  I knew I really should have stayed home and finished my holiday preparations, but the sunshine and warm weather beckoned me outside to paint.  I went to a spot on the Yellow Breeches Creek near Boiling Springs and did this small study of the rapids there.  I am not certain that this painting is done and  I might make a few adjustments to it another time, but it was great to be out.  I saw lots of people out walking, fishing, enjoying the nice day - even saw a guy fishing in shorts and flip flops!  I hope this is a sign that we will have a mild winter with many more plein air painting days ahead.
Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


11x14 oil

A decorative painting client called me last week to ask if I would do a painting of her teenage daughter's puppy.  Fortunately I was able to squeeze it in during this busy time.  It is to be a Christmas gift to her daughter.   I hope the young girl is pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


6x8 oil on mahogany board

Now that my church project is complete I am happy to be able to find some time to paint with friends.
This week I joined the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters for a brisk morning paint out.  Cecelia found an interesting place for us to paint.  The Lincoln Colored Cemetery is full of old Civil War graves, most of them were older than the surrounding trees.  I decided to focus in on the shapes of some of the stones.  I was also experimenting with a new surface, a clear primed mahogany board.  I enjoyed using this smooth surface as an alternative to the canvas texture which I am sometimes fighting with.  The warm wood color also made a nice base which peeks through the paint in areas.

First Church of God Restoration

It has been awhile since I posted here. I have been busy working on this church restoration.  I meant to post photos as the project progressed, but didn't seem to find the time, so here they are:

The original plaster cove was badly cracked.  I was able to trace some of the original artwork prior to repairs.

This photo above shows, on the right, the patched plaster with some of the original artwork peeking through.  Because there was so much patching it was decided to completely paint out the cove and reproduce the artwork.  On the left of this photo is a repainted shield.

 New artwork in process

A closeup of the shield scrollwork.  I think the original was painted around 1900 and had a loose, folk art feel to it, so I tried at best to duplicate that style.

The completed cove.  There are 12 shields in all, each with a different center motif.  It was discovered that they are the shields of the 12 apostles and most of the symbols in the shield have something to do with the way in which they were martyred.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Camp Hill Cafe Exhibit

Lotus on the Lake - Wildwood
8x10 oil

This is one of 13 paintings that I am currently exhibiting at the Camp Hill Cafe on Erford Road.  The paintings will be hanging through November and are mostly small plein air works.  The cafe is opened for breakfast and lunch so if you have a chance please stop by.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Monday, October 3, 2011


 Last week I said goodbye to Maggie, my cat for 16 years.  She was a great cat - beautiful, sweet, and affectionate, yet full of personality - she was always surprising me.  On cold days she was usually on my lap sucking up the warmth, and she loved when I sat down to work on a studio painting as that meant a long lap nap for her.  I will miss her.

I did these 3 small 6x6 paintings earlier this summer.  I had been searching for something to paint when I realized the perfect model was right in front of me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Refuge - Looking East by Julie Riker

12x24 oil

This is another painting that I did from the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge.  This is actually painted from the same location as the previous work I posted, only turned 180 degrees looking the other direction.  This side of the marsh has more water and less solid land.  I painted this in two afternoons, when the sun's direction allowed the most reflections of trees and sky.  Aside from the mosquitoes it was a peaceful place to paint.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Refuge - Looking West

      This is one of the paintings that I did for the Plein Air Chincoteague event.  This view of the refuge is one that I have wanted to paint on my visits to the island in the past.   It is a view that most visitors to the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge will recognize - almost everyone who stops along the road at this spot to photograph the vast marsh will see the wild ponies grazing in the distance.
     I was so fortunate to have some sunny days for this trip.  It was the same week that hurricane Lee was flooding Central PA, but since the storm stayed inland the coast was pretty nice.  There were some interesting cloud formations though - the large sky streak across my painting was, I think, the edge of the storm on the mainland.

 The Refuge - Looking West
12x24 oil
     This painting was carefully planned.  I even purchased a larger horizontal format canvas to take with me with this scene in mind.  Since the light changes drastically I worked on this 2 separate mornings and stopped at noon each time.  The painting sold at the Saturday exhibit to a nice couple from New Jersey who I had met on the beach earlier in the week and drove by several times as I was painting this.

     I was thinking I may sometime to do a larger studio version of this painting.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Monday, September 12, 2011

Painting on Chincoteague Island, VA

     I have just returned from a week of plein air painting on Chincoteague Island, Va.  45 artists participated in painting throughout the week and on Saturday night they held an exhibit/sale of the finished work.  Despite the heavy rains and flooding in Central PA, we were blessed with great weather all week on the coast - even the one day of drizzly mist led to some wonderful atmospheric paintings.  There are so many painting possiblities on both Chincoteague Island and the wildlife refuge on Assateague, from houses and historic sites, boats and marinas, marsh, beach, bay, and ocean.  Such a beautiful place to visit.

     This was my display for the Saturday night event.  I was delighted to sell 3 paintings and still have 3 to bring home as souvenirs of this fun week.

     I will be posting on the individual paintings in more detail later...

     If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Painting at the McClain Celtic Festival

Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters had a small exhibit of paintings hanging in the Two Mile House this weekend as part of the annual McClain Celtic Festival, and a few of us painted during the event.  I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to do a small study of this reenactor's tent.

I have mixed feelings about painting at these events.  I never feel like I can focus on my painting and am usually unhappy with my results. On the other hand, I enjoy the comments of people stopping to watch the process - the children are especially interested in quietly watching me paint. With live fiddle music and folk singing in the air, there is a joyful spirit that is just fun to be a part of.

And who doesn't love a guy in a kilt?

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Commission completed!

oil on stretched canvas

I am happy that I finally completed this client project and it is now at the framer's.
This was a new challenge for me and I enjoyed every minute of it.  It is good to step outside your comfort zone sometimes.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wildwood Lake

Last Friday I painted with Mary Beth Brath and Patricia Griffin of the Daily Painters Blog.  Patricia travelled to Harrisburg so that we could spend the day painting together and we had a great day.  We painted at Wildwood Lake which is a nature preserve and marsh area on the edge of the city.   I  painted there a few days earlier and loved seeing all the lotus blossoms and loosestrife  blooming.

8x8 oil

 8x10 oil

Yesterday I went to paint at Wildwood again with some members of the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters and was shocked to see that the weekend's heavy rain had knocked off all the flowers and the rising water level had left brown mud over everything.   All the color was gone.  It reminds me how fleeting natural beauty can be.  I am really glad that I took the time to capture it when I did.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Turning a problem area into a focal point

Pretty ugly right?  This concrete pad was found under 4 layers of floor during a kitchen restoration project.  There are no clues as to why this was here - maybe remnants of an old hearth or porch?  My guess is that the flooring was used in part to cover up the ugliness, but the customer removed the flooring down to the original hardwood and now needed to deal with this concrete mess.

First order of business was to clean the old concrete, removing the residual glue, and then skim coat the entire area with a cement mix, filling all the pitted areas.  After that was dry I applied Loxon to prepare the surface for painting.

 I sketched out my design to show the client.  I was originally planning to do a portrait of their bulldog in the center medallion, but the client requested a monkey in fancy clothes....OK, I can do that....thought it was a bit odd at first, but now I like it.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July Garden

8x10 oil on canvas

Happy that I found some time to take advantage of the cooler weather and do this little plein air piece.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Monday, July 25, 2011

Easton Plein Air 2011

109 Goldsborough
8x10 oil

On Saturday I participated in the Quick Draw event at the Easton Plein Air Festival.  It was the first time I had been to this area and only my second plein air competition experience.  I loved the charm of the town full of well restored homes.  There were plenty of opportunities for paintings, but my main criteria was to find a spot in the shade to escape the oppressive heat.  

The Quick Draw was 10-12:00.  At 12:30  more than 130 artists who braved the heat set up their easels and framed paintings along the street and spectators crowded around to view the finished work.  It was extremely exciting!  There was a huge range in artist's skill levels, but I was impressed and inspired by the quality of many of the paintings.  Many of the painters, some big names in the world of plein air painting, traveled from as far as California for the event and it was worth the trip for me just to see their work up close.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Commissioned work in progress...

 I am working on this painting of a pair of leopards for a client.  At first I was intimidated by the project and had a slow start.  I thought maybe it was the 48" x 48" size which was holding me back -  but then, I do paint wall sized murals for a living so I don't think that was the problem.  Maybe it was that leopards, or even animals are not my usual subject matter.  But really what I am most inhibited by is painting for the client and wondering whether he will like the results.
I have made some good progress on the work so far.  The rear leopard is almost finished.  I still have some issues to work out on the front leopard.  It is tricky when you don't have an actual leopard to model for you.

One of the best things I will take from this commission is all the research I have done to learn about this magnificent animal which is now a rare and endangered species.

 If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Monday, June 27, 2011

Art of the State

Last Saturday was the opening reception for Art of the State.  My "Irises" painting which I have posted here before was accepted into the show.  The exhibit is on display at the William Penn Museum in Harrisburg  through September 11.  It is a great show with a large variety of incredible work, including some amazing paintings.  If you have a chance to go see it you will find it worth the trip, but if you are not able to make it to Harrisburg here is a link to view photos of all the artwork.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gettysburg Festival Artist's Colony

     I spent the past week in Gettysburg as part of the Gettysburg Festival's Artist Colony.  The colony was a juried group of just 10 painters who lived together and painted in the Gettysburg area for 5 days.  It was a wonderful, intense sharing which reminded me of my art school days.  The focus of the experience was not so much on producing paintings to sell, but rather to learn and grow as artists.  One of the highlights for me were the two days of workshop with Bill Schmidt.  Bill was an excellent instructor.  He had us paint on 16x20 canvases, which is much larger than I am used to for plein air work, and I also tried a lot of things that I was not necessarily comfortable with because I really wanted to get the most from the learning experience.  From the 5 days of painting I have 7 good pieces started that I can hopefully finish in my studio and post at a later time.  This painting I am posting is the only one which I felt was completed.  It was painted in a short hour long session and depicts the famous Lincoln Square in Gettysburg.  I have donated this painting to the Gettysburg Festival.  It will be auctioned in an event this fall to raise money to help continue this wonderful colony experience.

 Lincoln Square
11x14 plein air oil

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hollyhock House

oil on canvas

     I don't seem to be able to grow hollyhocks in my garden.  I try, but they always turn brown and bumpy with rust before they bloom.  So when I spotted this charming house in Mechanicsburg I had to paint it. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Camp Hill Colors

8x10 oil on canvas panel

I painted this on the last day of the Camp Hill Plein Air event.  Most of the festivities were winding down and the mood was much more relaxed,  but there were still some artists taking advantage of the great sunlight that afternoon.  I noticed this house along Willow Park earlier in the weekend and was waiting for an opportunity to paint it later in the day when the light was hitting the front porch.  I don't paint in primary colors too often, so I thought it would be a good self-challenge.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My first "Quick Draw" painting event....

Saturday was the "Quick Draw" competition of Camp Hill's plein air event.  It was my first experience with a timed painting competition (2 hours from blank canvas to framed painting) and I loved the intensity and excitement of it all. Seeing all the finished works presented side by side was also a thrill.  There were many great paintings and I was very surprised when the judge picked mine.

I am glad I thought to take this picture.  The painting sold a half hour later.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Friday, June 3, 2011

Walnut and 24th Street

8x10 oil on canvas panel

I painted this yesterday in the neighborhood near Willow Park, Camp Hill.  It was a perfect day, cool and sunny - such a welcome change from the extreme rain and heat we have had.  Looks like great weather for Camp Hill's Plein Air Festival  this weekend.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Garden on South Seventeenth

11x14 oil

I have been wanting to do this painting ever since these irises started blooming.  Last week it rained constantly and I was afraid the flowers would be washed away before I had a chance to paint them, but fortunately Saturday was a beautiful sunny day and I was able to capture these irises before they were gone.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Friday, May 13, 2011

 I got a nice mention on Plein Air Magazine's site.  Click on this link to see it.

A Day at Codorus State Park

 Tree by the Lake
8x10 oil
Yesterday was one of those gorgeous spring days that are best spent hanging out in a park by a lake.   I have kayaked on Lake Marburg many times and always wanted to paint there, so I was happy to join the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters on their paint out.  I arrived late, so I only spent about an hour on this first painting before stopping for lunch.  I was going to work into it a little, but I am thinking I may leave it alone as a quick sketch.
In the afternoon we moved to another location to get a better view of the lake.  As I was walking around deciding what to paint I spotted this couple relaxing and reading.  They seemed to be enjoying the day as much as I was.  I knew they would not move for quite awhile and that it was the perfect opportunity to paint people en plein air.  I know it seems funny to drive and hour to visit a lake and then not paint the lake...but inspiration hit me and that is even better.

Reading in the Park
8x10 oil

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lenten Rose

8x8 oil

I have been busy lately working on a large architectural project so there has not been too much time for studio painting and blogging, but happily I found some time today to pick these lovely Heliobores from my garden, bring them in from the rain, and do a small painting of them.  Heliobores, also called Lenten Rose, are one of my favorite early spring flowers.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hazy Skyline

6x12 oil

I am pleased to announce that this painting was recently awarded 2nd place in the Mechanicsburg Art Center's spring juried show.  This was painted at the West Fairview boat launch directly across the Susquehanna from Harrisburg and the capitol.  It is a view I have attempted to paint several times and have always had difficulty with pushing the buildings back in space, but on this particular day the hazy atmosphere reduced everything to shades of gray.  It was one of those rare moments when I finished a painting in just a few hours and did not feel it needed any more work.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit my website

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Curved Porch at Allenberry by Julie Riker

6x8 oil
This was painted late last summer during one of the outings with the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters.
It is currently on display at Art & Soul Gallery in Lemoyne.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Also from the garden show...

The following day at the Garden Show I started out painting this lovely fountain surrounded by blue hydrangeas in a garden designed by John's Landscapes.
In the afternoon I went back to the Circa booth and focused in on this interesting arrangement of antique garden tools and soft peony blossoms.  It really was a nice booth and my favorite at the show.

Completing a finished painting was difficult with all the traffic at the show, so I just approached my paintings as studies and practiced working quickly.  It was interesting working in public and talking with the many visitors to the show.