Sunday, December 27, 2015

Summer Snow

©summer snow - 6"x6" oil on gessobord 

In September I started 30 paintings in 30 days and decided the theme would be white flowers. I painted several that I did not get around to posting. This is one of them that I posted last month on Daily Paintworks.

I often walk in the morning and admire the roses along the way. This one is meant to represent the rose basking in the full sun while others around it are in various states of life. It turned out just the way I imagined.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Long Live the Trillium

© Long Live the Trillium - 6"x6" oil - $95 (includes shipping) 


Day 6 of 30 in 30 days series of white flowers:

The trillium is a flower near and dear to all Ohioans because it is our state wild flower. I have even done a commission piece of a trillium. In this piece I tried to keep the surroundings as "bottom of the woodland floor" as possible. These flowers are very susceptible if trampled by deer and won't appear again if they are stepped on repeatedly. They are so stark and lovely against all the other colors of the woodland ground cover.

Here are ten things to know about Trillium:

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Nymph of the Pond

©Nymph of the Pond - 6"x6" oil on gessobord - $85 (includes shipping)

Day #4 of 30 paintings in 30 days

I have some pictures of waterlilies but none up this close. I found this reference on a site called pixabay. They offer royalty free use of photos and payment is in the form of a "donation for a cup of coffee." So, if you need some photo references without infringing on copyrights this might be an answer for you.

Since I'm running through these paintings daily I'm really just "piling the paint on" and not worrying about glazing a few days later. I have to say though that I am still a fan of glazing because there is really something to be said for the depth of color one gets in that process. Alla Prima is fun and instantly gratifying but I too love the discipline and patience of glazing.

Facts about the water lily:

Nymphaea odorata

Nymphaea odorata Aiton

American white water lily, Fragrant white water lily, Fragrant water lily, White water lily, Sweet-scented white water lily, Sweet-scented water lily

Nymphaeaceae (Water-Lily Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (I), PR (N), CAN (N)

A floating aquatic plant with large, fragrant, white or pink flowers and flat, round, floating leaves. The leaves have long stems and are bright green above and reddish or purplish underneath, almost round. They are narrowly and deeply cut almost to the center, where the stem is attached. They are up to 10 inches across, floating on the surface of the water or just beneath. There is 1 flower to a stem, white, fragrant, 2–6 inches across, and floating on the water. Flowers open in the early morning and close about noon. There are 4 sepals and many rows of white petals, often more than 25, which are 3/4–4 inches long, thick, and pointed at the tip. There are more than 70 stamens. The outer ones are large and petal-like; they become smaller toward the center.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Calla Lily in the Spotlight

©Calla Lily in the Spotlight - 6"x6" on gessobord 


Day #3 in 30 paintings in 30 days.

Calla Lilys are so graceful and if they could be personified I would say they are the "Grace Kelly" of flowers. Such graceful line, perfect posture and if you turn them upside down they even kind of look like her wedding gown (look it up if you haven't seen it). Maybe that's why brides love them in their bouquets.

These are as dramatic as I could possible make them! This one would probably look nice really big.

Some Interesting Facts about Calla lilies
  • The Calla lily is a perennial bulb.
  • Though called a lily, Calla lilies are not really lilies.
  • Calla is a flowering genus of twenty-eight species originating in Africa and growing mostly in marshy areas.
  • Calla lilies are grown from bulbous roots with finger-like growths. These are known as tubers.
  • The blooming time of Calla lilies is late spring.
  • The word Calla comes from the Greek term for beautiful.
  • The Calla lily roots are poisonous.

Growing Calla lilies

  • Plant Calla Lilies deeply for their good size.
  • Plant them at 4 inches deep, spacing each bulb 12 inches apart.
  • Start bulbs indoors in late winter and transplant them in the spring when the danger of frost has passed.
  • Apply a bulb fertilizer every month during the active growing season.
  • Most Calla Lilies need a rest period after flowering.
  • Let the leaves die back and let plants rest for 2 to 3 months.
  • Then again resume watering to encourage new growth.

For more information visit:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hardy Hibiscus

©Hardy Hibiscus - 6"x6" oil on linen panel - $75

Day #2 of the 30 White Flowers in 30 Days.

If you have any Rose of Sharon you know they grow like weeds. And, if you ever forget to trim off those seed pods in the fall you will have at least 40 million (just a little hyperbole) of the little plants to pull up in the spring (speaking from firsthand experience). I happen to have the pink variety and they are one of my favorite bushes. This white one is courtesy of Donna Noice from our upstairs painting class.

Not much time to talk, got to get on to the next painting! Only problem is I ran out of contacts (I know, it's my own fault) and trying to paint with my glasses which are no-line bifocals which tend to make me motion sick! Can't wait to get my mono-vision contacts back!!!! They are the night and day kind so I forget that I can't see until I lose one or run out.

Here's a little rose of sharon info from HGTV:
Despite its name, the deciduous flowering shrub we call rose of Sharon isn’t a rose at all. Native to Asia and India, this plant with exotic-looking blooms is actually a hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus), a member of the mallow family. Other common names include shrub althea, Chinese hibiscus and hardy hibiscus. Rose of Sharon is mentioned in the Old Testament, although scholars think that the reference, which appears in the Song of Solomon, is a mistranslation of a Hebrew word for crocus. 
Shakespeare wrote, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and rose of Sharon, no matter what name you call it, is lovely. The large single or doubled flowers are often wavy-looking, giving the impression that they’re made of crepe paper. They open in late summer to fall, when few other shrubs are in bloom. Depending on the variety, the flowers may be violet, blue, pink, red, lavender, purple or white, and they often have a dark “eye” in the center.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fresh Cut Peony

©Fresh Cut Peony - 6"x6" oil on ampersand gessobord


Just a quick post for the first of the Leslie Saeta Challenge 30 paintings in 30 days. My theme will be "30 White flowers. I painted this same flower in another orientation about a month ago. I changed the palette a bit and made this one more yellow. I also used the palette knife much more on this one.

Tomorrow is a white Rose of Sharon.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"Barrington Belle"

©A.K.Simon - Barrington Belle - 6"x6" oil on Raymar panel - $85 (includes shipping)

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.

Well I got through the white one then tried the red one and this is the third attempt. There is such a false sense of security after you paint something that you really like and you say after all these years, "I got this." Then comes the next white canvas and you try the same exact approach and you say, "maybe I don't got this!" So you struggle, wipe off the bad paintings then realize that the tones staining the canvas from the previous attempts are just what you needed to succeed with the third attempt. Moral, don't give up because we all "got this!" (just maybe not right away) 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Paeonia Petal Overload

© A.K.SIMON - Paeonia Petal Overload - 6x6 - SOLD

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"

Every year I try painting peonies. I don't grow any so I have to rely on others to share theirs. I even carry my camera on my morning walks so I can secretly take pictures of them in the morning sun at somebody else's house. This one is, I believe, what they call the paeonia and it is also considered the "common" garden variety of peony. Wow, if this is common I can't wait to see what's uncommon!

I'm not lying, peonies are my nemesis and I actually get a little anxious about painting them. Today though I remembered a line from Richard Schmid's book, and I paraphrase, "just don't worry about whether you have the talent and move on." So today I put on the headphones to distract me and just painted shapes with different values in a pattern. This is what came out and I think it is very representational of the feeling of "fruffiness" that I get when I think peony. Just don't tell me if you don't think so because I have a fragile ego where peonies are concerned!

Tomorrow the burgundy one! Much, much more challenging!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Blended Family

©A.K.SIMON - Blended Family - 6"x6" oil on gessobord - SOLD 

Quote for today: "Pick your battles with everyone, including yourself . . . remind yourself everyday that you have been given another chance at love and cherish that opportunity."                Jessica Warrick

This is another small study of flowers - pansies this time because that is what Donna brought to class (along with the rest of the garden complete with statue). Knowing myself and the pace at which I paint, this is my focus from that large, complicated garden set up. There was so much going on in that scene I decided, why not make the painting look like "all that is going on," so the stroke work became chaotic. But with "all that" I still needed to bring some focus and reason for the painting so here they are, two pansies sharing a pot (which almost ended up being named "two pansies sharing pot" but I remembered this is a family show). Strokes were added with regard for time and instinct. Donna noted that I had painted this with a big brush but I didn't realize that until she mentioned it to someone in class. Imagine that, instincts may be kicking in after all these years of painting.

Friday, April 24, 2015


©A.K.SIMON - "Ungilded" - 6"x6" oil on linen - SOLD

Today's Quote: Yet, the great ocean hath no tone of power Mightier to reach the soul, in thought's hushed hour, Than yours, ye Lilies! chosen thus and graced!
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Felicia D. Hemans
I have never painted lilies before and of course they are abundant right after Easter, so here it is. This is just a little study that I did today in the studio. Not much to say other than it is always amazing to me that you can never use straight white when painting white objects. But boy does your mind really want to go for that white. You continually have to keep checking values to avoid your "mind speak". This one was really dumping its pollen everywhere. But you know as beautiful as I find the flower, the fragrance can be nauseating to me. I guess that's what attracts the bees but it can sure give a human a headache!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fallen from Grace

©A.K.SIMON - Fallen from Grace - 9"x12" on wood panel - $200

“They are not long, the days of wine and roses. Out of a misty dream, our path emerges for a while, then closes, within a dream.” 
― Ernest DowsonThe Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson

This is a piece done about 95% with the spatula which I have mentioned a few times in my blog. I painted the piece on a wood panel that I had cut down at our local home store. I had the wood left over from some furniture that I built for my studio in January. I gessoed the wood on all sides with a gray gesso to seal it then painted the sides and back black so it can be mounted easily in a floater frame (or other if you choose). I love this piece and it definitely commands attention among all my other studio pieces.

I have to give a shout out to my friend and teacher Donna Noice for sharing a photograph from one of her classes that I was unable to attend. It's not exactly like the picture but pretty close. She has given her permission for me to share it with you.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Swan in Mourning

Painted this today in memory of a dear friend who passed away 1 year ago on Tuesday. I took the picture of this swan at her favorite plein aire painting site. We miss you Connie! Here is a link to my original post:

©A.K.SIMON - Swan in Mourning - 8"x8" oil on linen 


On thy fair bosom, silver lake, The wild swan spreads his snowy sail, And round his breast the ripples break As down he bears before the gale. To Seneca Lake, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Orange Pekoe and the Golden Spoon

©A.K.SIMON - Orange Pekoe and the Golden Spoon - oil on linen $100


Quote for today: “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” 
― C.S. Lewis

I am not a coffee drinker. However, I do love a cup of good tea and one of my favorites is Orange Pekoe with honey. I didn't set up this still life and what you see is not all that was there. Donna did this on a Tuesday morning long ago and I did start this from life. However, I just finished this in the studio yesterday. There's a great amount of story about one cup of tea in this small piece. Although I don't know her intention, this piece is all about a quiet time with a book and I love the C.S.Lewis quote because I wholeheartedly agree. Have you every intentionally slowed down your reading toward the end of a book because you didn't want it to end? This is especially true for Ken Follet books for me. His characters are so well developed that I feel I need to know more about them. This piece is filled with all the good things of a quiet time. A book, a piece of fruit, the smell of eucalyptus, the jar of honey, the tea cup and Donna's golden spoon. Not to forget the plate that is not for tea spillage as one might think but for the cupcake with towering icing that is just out of sight!

Happy Palm Sunday!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Singularly Beautiful

©A.K.SIMON - Singularly Beautiful 8"x8" oil on linen - $100

QUOTE FOR TODAY: Truths and roses have thorns about them.
                                                                Henry David Thoreau

Back from traveling and back at work. I am trying to get some of these small pieces posted to Daily Paintworks to take advantage of my featured status. This piece was done with a lot of spatula and palette knife work which seems to be the direction I am taking. I love the spontaneity and colors in this piece. I feel I am gaining more confidence in my work and that is making it much more fun to paint. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

And the Sparrow Watches Me

©A.K.SIMON - And the Sparrow Watches Me - 8"x8" oil on linen  - $100

Today's Quote: 

“There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow”

                                                              William Shakespeare

I love birds. I'm not sure how it happened but it has been lifelong. I had several parakeets as a child and have been an avid observer of them for a long time. This little sparrow was sitting amongst the hustle and bustle of a downtown Gatlinburg shopping area. His main objective was to drink from the slate fountain on which he was perched. There were some pebbles in the water and at the time "artist brain" kicked in and noticed the harmony of colors and how well this little bird fits with it's surroundings like an artistic plan. My hope is that the posture here reflects his intent on drinking while also keeping guard for any peril. 

I used to get upset when my husband and I would travel because he gets so caught up in conversations with strangers that he will sometimes forget that he told me, "I'll be back in a minute." Time and experience have mellowed me and I now use these "waiting times" to enjoy little scenes like this bird to ponder co-existence, color, form, light, etc. (Yep, he forgot to come right back). There is a grander plan and I'm just now taking the time to enjoy it more. There's a lyric in a Rascal Flats song that says, "God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you." All of the frustration and fuming while I waited was my broken road (wasted time) - didn't realize it until I shut up, listened and started taking the time to observe the wonder around me. We get so caught up in what we think should be happening that we don't enjoy what IS happening.  I was being left alone as a plan to help me study for these paintings. 

I really am going to start back on the state bird series when I get back from a vacation. I have had several people requesting more birds. I'm sure that an artist's love for the subject matter comes through in the painting. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Well there is some good news. I have been selected as one of the 15 (not one of the top 3 who get the prize $ but an honor just the same) artists from the Daily Paintworks monthly juried contests (prizewinner to the left). What does this mean? It gets my a fee-free month with DPW.  I am bumped up to "featured" status for the month. This means I move to the top of the list which is really a good thing when your last name starts with an "S". What else has it done for me? It has made me get my "___" in gear to post some of the paintings I've been working on and motivated me to get some inventory.

You Light Up My Life


This one is a little tighter than I anticipated it would be. Funny how you start something and your confidence in rendering suddenly freezes. This one was started after I hadn't painted in a few days and weird as that seems, it only takes a short time to lose your way. Showing it here because I do really like some of the edge work, especially around the candle holder and green apple.So why the title: Just wanted an element to be in an unsuspected, less predictable place. So, that's how the apple ended up on the candle holder. And just like the wick lights the life of the candle, the stem is the lifeline of the apple. Yep, I learned this type of over analyzing in design classes - can drive a person nuts at times! 
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