Saturday, December 29, 2012

Scrambled Kind of a Morning

©A.K.SIMON - Scrambled Kind of a Morning - oil on linen - $100

We have open hours in our studio on Friday mornings and I was looking around for something to paint while I was there tending shop. I finally looked at some of the challenges that Dailypaintworks posts every week and came across this beautiful picture and challenge by Ann Feldman which was posted in February of 2012. That just happened to be the same month I joined the site. What is really ironic is that I eat two soft boiled eggs (the perfect protein) every morning from a ramekin just like this. So, here you have it. I really liked the challenge of white everything with a soft color background. The reference picture was absolutely perfect even if my picture of my painting isn't. My challenge to myself for 2013 is to get adept at photographing my own work! There are some beautiful aquas in this painting that aren't coming across just yet. I will update the picture tomorrow.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Glowing Peony

©A.K.SIMON - A Glowing Peony - oil on cotton panel - $60 SOLD

Okay, because I still could, I painted today. And, in honor of the continuation of our planet - I'm offering a $40 discount on this painting just because I know there can and will be more of them. As long as the flowers bloom in the spring, there is hope! This peony was in the window of the studio of a friend and the backlight was amazing. And, because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to paint this. Peonies are my nemesis. I know there is some order to their growth but sometime between when I start and when I finish I lose that order! This one (two I should say but the second one is facing away) had a glow I liked when finished and a feel of warmth that seems inviting to me. And, I think it bears some semblance to a peony. Done deal for now, but the subject matter will be revisited.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Wish I Had a Coat

©A.K.SIMON - I Wish I Had a Coat - oil on panel - $100

Though I did this piece a while ago it seemed most appropriate for the day that the world is predicted to end as we know it. All you can do it brace yourself for what may come. Now you know I really am just kidding, right? It's mostly about drastic weather changes in Ohio. Last week it was 60 and lovely - today we expect 3" of snow and the winds were raging last night. 

This work is a really quick study of a student at Capital University where I took some classes with Michael McEwan, the resident artist. The model had her sleeves pulled down around her hands and thank goodness (since mouths are so hard to paint) she had her mouth covered. What you don't see are her ipod ear buds because she likes to listen to music while she poses. The work is done on one of those slippery panels that do nothing but work against your efforts at applying paint. I like the spontaneity of this piece and found I did not want to touch it after the 45 minute initial sketch because I would lose the spontaneity. All the movement of the brush strokes is like the energy her body is expelling to generate heat.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Breakfast with the Hydrangeas

©A.K.SIMON - Breakfast with the Hydrangeas - oil on linen - $100

I did this painting from one of Donna's setups in the Tuesday morning upstairs painter class. There was a candle glowing off to the right of what you see so I tried to keep that strong, glowing light source. Sometimes keeping the light right can be difficult because we have overhead incandescent, window light and the added candlelight in this piece. The goal in this piece was loose, thick and fast. Although the photo does not show the thickness of the paint, it is there. I kept it loose by talking with friends the entire time I painted (well I occasionally listened). This work was finished at the end of class except for some added darkest darks. As always, the painting is much better than the picture. Hydrangeas can be suck "fussy" flowers to paint!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Dead of Winter

©A.K.SIMON - The Dead of Winter - oil on canvas - $250 w/frame - 12" x 12"

This is a service road at Three Creeks Metro Park where I walk my dog. The snow had just fallen overnight and the sky looked like there would be more coming at any moment. I love the "quiet" of snow so we bundled up and ventured out with camera of course. I do some plein air work but this snow was way too deep and the air was way too cold! We were the only one's in the park that day - how lucky are we? Anyway, the title has dual meaning. Of course chronologically it is the dead of winter but if you look closely there is one of those orange bands that the park rangers use to mark diseased or broken trees for removal in the spring. So, morbid as I am (not really), it seemed akin to a toe tag on someone in the morgue (body on ice). So here you have it, the "dead" of winter being presented to you in the "dead of winter". Plus, a painting can't be finished without red, right? I used weird colors for this one - radiant blue, greenish umber, burnt umber, cobalt violet and tons of white. This is really impasto which may or may not show because of differing monitors.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

All My Money in One Pot

©A.K.SIMON - All My Money in One Pot - oil on linen - 10" x 8" - $100

This was a play between the thin paper-like feel of the money plant and the thin wings of the almost obscure dragon fly sitting on the little glass jar. And then there was the challenge of the mirror in the background. I have always been fascinated with how the seed of the money plant is held in that thin tissue layer. Then once removed what is left is a beautiful layer of tissue almost like vellum. And, I love painting on vellum.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Awaiting Final Arrangements

©A.K.SIMON - Awaiting Final Arrangements - oil on linen - $100
Tis the season for red and green and this vase was "eye popping" red and in true challenge form, Donna placed a red rose right beside that red vase in the class set up. I guess with the striped wallpaper and the roses I got kind of a "funeral home" feel, thus the name of the title. We give ourselves only three hours to paint these so it can be a real challenge to get them done. This one did not make the cut. I had to work on this a little in the studio after class. Funny thing about this one is that it looks very traditional in a gold frame then putting it in a black frame really gives it a contemporary feel.

Just squeeze the neck in and put a stick in it and you have a beautiful cinnamon candied apple!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

All That's Glittering is Gold

©A.K.SIMON - All That's Glittering is Gold - oil on linen - $100
Well the Christmas card painting is done. I started it Tuesday and finished it tonight during our annual Christmas in the Village in Canal Winchester, OH. This is just a small area of a larger set up. The vase contained a beautiful white poinsettia which I am just barely showing at the top edge. I LOVE these simple gold ornaments and use them all over my tree. They remind me of the Victorian gazing balls (probably even created in Victorian days)  and speak of a season of reflection. Can't believe another year is racing to the finish! 

This one will be printed and in your mailbox soon! (Thank God for online printers!)

PS sorry for the crappy picture - I took it with my tablet in very horrible conditions - a better one to come soon.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Now That's a Crock

©A.K.SIMON - Now That's a Crock - oil on linen - $100

Lightening up was the challenge for today. I tend to lean toward the dark and dramatic so I really made a conscious effort to keep my colors light. There is plenty of texture on this painting but once again photography fails to reveal life. My greatest challenge is photographing my work even though I have read how to do it I still have trouble. Maybe it is because my eyesight is so bad!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Protective Custody

©A.K.SIMON - Protective Custody - Oil on Linen - $100

These fine fruits are in protective custody because they do not wish to be genetically modified - "nuf said"!

This bowl of fruit was a small portion of a larger set up - this section captured my attention because the way the leaves are almost guarding the bowl like sentries. Since my husband has been fighting genetically modified foods for years, this title came to mind. 

I really wanted to make the blue, orange and red pop so I made everything else gray. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bringing Fall Inside
# 74

©A.K.SIMON - Bringing Fall Inside - oil on linen - $100

Finished this one about 3 weeks ago and have it framed in black and already hanging in the studio. Seems I can finish them but can't seem to get them photographed and posted in a timely manner. This set up was done by Donna in our "upstairs paint class" and she is always pushing the "challenge envelope". In this case, yellow cloth with yellow mums. The pot reminds me of some ancient Greek pottery. Anyway, this is what I came up with as far as light and dark patterns. I even included the bird statue which I almost never do. 

Anyway, so when I painted this I asked my husband what he thought. He said, "nice vase". So, the other day he was in my studio and said, "hmmm I really like the vase in this painting, did I ever see this one." Really! I'll attribute the comment to his age and not an unmemorable painting!  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Vestiges of Fall

©A.K.SIMON - Vestiges of Fall - oil on linen - $100
The leaves are gone and we had our first snow this year in Oct. thanks to "Sandy".  We're moving on to a new season, ready or not! I don't know about everyone else but season changes have become very unpredictable and for the most part, not in a good way. Just painted these last sunflowers because they seem to always be able to lift everyone's spirit - or maybe it's just me.

This piece is on a very fine weave linen surface which I am finding I really love. It's hard to get the softness of petals when I am fighting with surface texture. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rainiers and Tea

© A.K.SIMON - Rainiers and Tea - Oil on Panel - $100

This is a really traditional little oil painting. Sometimes "old school" is a nice place to rest. Mainly when I look at a painting like this, I wax/wane for times past. The times in my life when there was little noise and time to think (and of course there is that younger thing). A time when the cherries and apples came from farms a few miles from your home and the tea was good old Lipton from your local grocer not a mega store. 

All of my paintings have the subtitle (you never see it but it is there) "a view from my hiding place". Of course my hiding place is behind the paint brush and the place portrayed is of my own creation. You will either see a literal translation (as this painting) or as the essence/energy I feel from a subject. As  the artist I have the advantage of saying something without words but to none-the-less, say something. Whether you want to listen is your choice. I never presume that my view is the only one and am not arrogant enough to believe that I have the insight into how you should view anything. What I paint is purely an opinion from my limited experience.

I have to admit the ugliness of an election year has driven me to my "hiding place" with a greater regularity! And, I am so grateful for that lovely "mute" button. It is very revealing to watch body language when you can't hear the words.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Spotlight is Humbling

© A.K.SIMON - The Spotlight Is Humbling - oil on linen - $100

Many years ago I planted daffodil bulbs in what was then a wide open area. Over the years a bush has taken over most of that area and in the spring when the bulbs bloom the daffodils must search for the light. This year they bloomed and I quickly cut them because the stems were so strained. I put this one in a vase by itself because it was so bent over. The sun was coming through the window to the right and the daffodil had the most beautiful glow so I photographed it for future use. The future is now. I guess the moral of the story is that when seeking the spotlight, at times we are forced to bow our heads in humility.

PS: I love blue glass in the light!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tulip Spirit

©A.K.SIMON - Tulip Spirit - oil on linen $100


Every spring when I see the first leaves of the tulips coming up (sometimes through the snow) I tell my husband, "well there is still hope for the world because the tulips are peaking through the ground." (yes, every year I say the same thing - wonder if he realizes it) Seeing something grow is a spiritual experience for me. It is said that the greatest expression of a plants energy is its flower. So all of this in mind, I painted this painting, "tulip spirit" to express the energy I imagine this flower exudes. I staged the light and tried to pay particular attention to the edges while trying to maintain spontaneity. I like the result of the effort. I'm really loving the way the paint moves on this linen. It is such a fine weave I purposely allow it to show.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

French Onion "Wanna-be"

©A.K.SIMON - French Onion "Wanna-be" - oil on linen - $100

I love this painting. Sometimes the lighting is so inspiring you can't help but race to get the paint on. And, in racing to get that paint on, you get some nice brush work. Sometimes (most times) I tend to labor over some area of a painting and lose the spontaneity. It didn't happen in this one so that's why I love it. So it's not such a glamorous subject but I have to say, onions are pretty important staple in our kitchen. I can't think of anything I cook that isn't made better by an onion - sort of like bacon or butter - it's gotta be good with these three ingredients. I'm also making the assumption that these onions want to become french onion soup because I'm just sure that is the pinnacle of desire for all onions. ☺

As an aside, this was done in our Tuesday Upstairs Painters class and this is a fraction of a larger set up by Mary Spires. The light is coming from the window above and behind the onions. Also, it is so appropriate to paint linen on linen. I love the texture on these small Centurion Deluxe Oil Primed Linen panels. I think I'll research some larger ones from the same company. They take the paint to effortlessly if that's what you want.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mum's the Word

©A.K.SIMON - Mum's The Word - 6x6 oil on panel $59
A few years ago I struggled through a book called Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green. I can't remember the author but it was very technical about how the physics of light determine color. I definitely need to revisit that book because I am doing many plein air paintings these days and struggle with green. You should take a look at that book though because it is very interesting, but you need to be in the right frame of mine. I just thought of it because I did use blue and yellow to make this neon green. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012


©A.K.SIMON - D'Anjou - 6x6 oil on linen - SOLD

Man I really love d'anjou pears. I buy them and can hardly wait till they are ripe to eat them. And, on occasion I've tried to forgo that ripening - don't go there. Did you ever notice what a fine line there is between when they ripen and when you eat them. You have about 1 day and they turn to mush. Whatever you do, don't refrigerate them or they never ripen. So, back to the painting, when this set up was done on Tues. the most enticing piece was the pear and I think there is no question what this painting is all about. There's the pear and everything else in subordination. I tried to make a little vibration between the yellow and purple, but the pear is "queen" of the stage. I like the harmony in this piece.

Monday, August 27, 2012

May Apple

© A.K.SIMON - May Apple - oil on linen panel


Another spring flower that is found in Ohio at the edge of wooded areas. They just look like little helicopters that landed on the ground. Unlike most flowers, this one comes out below the foliage. I'm guessing it is built in sunscreen.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Trillium of Ohio

© A.K.SIMON - Trillium of Ohio - 6x6 oil on panel


Back from vacation in Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia - how lucky am I? I feel so fortunate to have taken this vacation this year because we were able to make it all the way up to Cape Breton and I was blown away. Check out the National Geographic article about it - it really is that awesome! When I tell people I took 1,000 pics they say, "oh, but how many did you really take?" I literally took 1006 photos on this trip. Standouts of the "vaca" were: scenery, awesome rental car (we flew into Portland and drove north - leaving from Halifax) and the unbelievably nice Canadians. We did not encounter any grumpy, grouchy people. If you ever get the chance, make this trip into Canada, you won't be disappointed. 

Back to work: This little piece I finished yesterday. The trillium is the Ohio state flower and someone requested that I paint it. It really is pretty small but I wanted to showcase it so I focussed in really close. 

Spent 3 hours in one of the Metro Parks today working on a plein air piece for the upcoming  10th anniversary show for OPAS. 98 degrees today - need I say more! 

©A.K.SIMON - Trillium of Ohio -  6x6 oil on panel 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jack is in the Pulpit Today

© A.K.SIMON - Jack is in the Pulpit Today - Oil on Linen - $60


I had heard about the Jack in the Pulpit plant many times in my life and had probably seen it but didn't really pay much attention to it until this past spring when Joann Swartz invited me on her property to see hers. She knows that I love flowers of all kind so she invited me to come to her land (much is very wooded) and view some of the amazing spring wild flowers. The plant grows in the shade of the woods and looks very "chartreusy" when the sun is shining through it. The stamen (Jack) actually stands behind the curled over leaf. Huh maybe it should be Jack hides in the Pulpit and that could have a whole new philosophical meaning. Regardless, another one of nature's amazing plants! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Black-Eyed Susan

© A.K.SIMON - Black-Eyed Susan - oil on linen - $45

There was obviously much more to this set up than I included in this piece. Somedays you show up to paint and you don't really show up to paint - do you know what I mean? I didn't really study the scene and make a plan before I started this one. I was bellyaching about being lethargic because I'm sick of the heat this summer and not interested in tolerating another "scorcher".  Funny thing is by the end of this one I was satisfied with the outcome. There is no doubt what this painting is about - I like simple and direct. So I guess the moral of the story is, "somedays just showing up is all it takes." One of my favorite sayings is, "just show up and shut up." Good advice!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Muffin from the Moon

© A.K.SIMON - Muffin from the Moon - oil on linen - $45

Today was a fun day at the Tuesday Upstairs Painters' Class. Four of us had been in shows over the weekend, Connie returned from vacation and Marilyn returned from her long sabbatical in Florida. But, as a special treat, Mary Spires returned from her workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry and gave us a little demo of what she learned. She said it was an absolute dream (pun intended) spending time in Paris, Kentucky. She feels it has brought her to a turning point in her style choices and would recommend the workshop to any who get a chance to "snag" a spot in one of her classes. Mary's demo was of a muffin she purchased locally so it became the subject matter for the class. Here's my rendition. There was a complicated patterned cloth hanging behind it but I simplified it for sake of clarity of subject. 

Hmmmmm - just wondering what the difference is between a cupcake and a muffin? Really!
Does it mean if I switch to cupcakes I won't get "muffin top" when wearing jeans? Just hoping!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Join me, Mary Spires and Judy Hazen at the German Village Art Crawl in Macon Alley tomorrow evening (7/21) from 6 - 10 PM. Music, Drink, Food and Art -  (cover charge of $20 in advance and $25 at the show) What else could be better?! We are at 877 5th St. (come around back to the garage entrance on Macon Alley) Here's a link with specifics (tickets can be purchased online): 

Here is a preview of a piece I will have there (sorry for the crooked pic):

© A.K.SIMON - Hanging on for Dear Life - 9 x 12 oil on panel $250 (framed)
This painting is of a tree that I see when walking my dog along Big Walnut Creek in Canal Winchester, Ohio. The shore has eroded so much over time that I decided to do this as a vignette with the foreground shore totally missing. The season is early, early spring before any leaves but still warm enough to walk.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jaded with the "Unjaded"

© A.K.SIMON - Jaded with the "Unjaded" - oil on linen - $100

Some ideas for paintings just click from the minute you see the scene. I really liked this set-up by Donna Noice on Tuesday morning - of course it's not the whole scene, just my take on a part. There was this fabric in the background that was "camo-like" and it started the wheels turning about life, death and becoming more jaded the longer we live. Here was the jar, which I don't think really was jade but my mind went there and the eggs a symbol of potential. What do you think? Will they become jaded - probably (sorry that's my jade talking).

I really like this one because the light is just the way I want it and there are also some edges I really like. For the first time in a long time I started with a stark white canvas, went to a tone of gray green immediately though then blocked in the shapes to get the composition I wanted. The setup really would have looked nice on a long horizontal format but I only had squares with me. May revisit this one with a different canvas!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Peace Keepers

© A.K.SIMON - Peace Keepers - 6" x 6" - oil on panel - $100

Peace roses are absolutely gorgeous! Their many layers of luminosity have mesmerized me since I was young. We always had peace roses and I remember wondering when I was young what made them open. I also remember taking advantage of the opportunity to study the japanese beetles who devoured the leaves because not too many people used "Grubex" back in those days. 

Peaceful indeed - they have a peace that passes understanding and one only need study them to understand the majesty and superiority of nature. 

I'm trying out some of the "Dick Blick Artboard Panels" so there is a strong surface texture that runs through the thinner parts of the paintings - not too sure how I feel about that yet. This painting is one of my favorites because the luminosity I sought is there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Old Lace - No Arsenic

© A.K.SIMON - Old Lace - No Arsenic - 5" x 7" masonite panel - $55

click to bid in auction

I just kept thinking of those two little old ladies in "Arsenic and Old Lace" when I was painting this because of the antique pitcher, lace and the traditional setup - that is why this title stuck.

This is a still life set up by Donna Noice with flowers supplied by Laurie Hatler from her daughter's garden. Connie Layne supplied the pitcher which I believe had been her grandmother's. And, to top it off, the masonite panel was given to the class by one of the others students whose husband's business had no use for these small pieces. So, sometimes it takes a village (and 30 years or so of practice) to make a still life painting. : )

I started this one on a pre-primed green panel. I did little editing of the elements on the table so it did take some "squeezing" to complete the piece. It certainly gives a "big feel" to such a small canvas. Overall I think it looks pretty cohesive. I really played down the lace from the setup or it would have demanded all the attention. Done for today - on to tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oregon's State Flower - Or Fruit

© A.K.SIMON - Oregon's State Flower  - SOLD

I love learning about new plants and this one was presented to the class on a Tuesday morning. I had never seen holly leaves and blue berries on the same bush. So of course I "googled" it and Donna confirmed that these are Oregon grapes which is the state flower for, of course, Oregon. The plant is indigenous to Oregon but also thrives in Ohio. So here are some facts about the plant from the "virtualtourist":

I can not count the number of times I have had people make comments to me about "that strange holly plant with the blue berries rather than red ones" because they are unfamiliar with Oregon's state flower: the Oregon Grape.

While the leaves are somewhat like holly, the blue berries are a give away. I have been told that some people use the berries in some types of jam, but the fact is that this is considered a flower and not a fruit: they are generally not suitable for eating.

Also, unlike holly (which you will find in abundance all over the place in Oregon now) it is not an imported plant: as the name implies, Oregon Grape is an Oregon native.

Around late March and early April, yellow flowers appear on the bushes. These are the blossoms. The "fruit" will come much later. The second photo shows what these flowers look like.

As there are a number of public plantings of our state flower in Portland (and Salem and many other cities as well!), both in public places and private gardens and yards, I have more photos of Oregon Grape in the Oregon Grape tip in my Portland section.

Read more:

I was trying some things with texture and background with this one and probably won't use them again so I won't share them here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tiger of a Lily

© A.K.SIMON - Tiger of a Lily - $45

Sometimes I just mess around and pick one flower out of a whole bouquet and try to use the shapes of that one flower to make a "sculpture of a painting". Last Tuesday morning that is what I did with this painting. I wiped it off twice and ended with this piece which I find suits what I had in mind to create. Trying to get essence without too much edge.  It is the time for lilies blooming all around us right now so I'm sure I will explore this further.
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