Friday, December 28, 2018


I may have mentioned in the past, painting pure white animals is my Achilles heel! So I'm grateful when I get commissioned for one, to push me out of my comfort zone. I tend to make the darker areas too dark, see the second picture below for Pixie before lightening up a bit.

Pixie - 10x10 Acrylic on gessobord

Pixie, before lightening up

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Somewhere in Idaho

This is from another reference photo off Paint My  It's such a great site for finding a huge variety of reference photos. I'm wondering if I made the mountains too subtle though - I wanted them to be subtle, but can you tell they're there at all? 

Somewhere in Idaho - Acrylic on 5x7 inch gessobord

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Stop And Smell The Flowers

I was trying another painting using oils and was getting so frustrated I finally gave up and went back to this other painting I'd started a while ago with acrylics. Aaaaahhh. Comfort zone. I do plan to keep experimenting with oils. In the meantime at least they are serving to make me extra love my acrylics. I was kind of intimidated with this scene below when I first started it and I set it aside last week, but after clunking along with oils for a bit it gave me renewed confidence with the acrylics.

Stop and smell the flowers - Acrylic on 8x8 in. gessobord

Monday, December 3, 2018


This is a commission of my cousin's dog, Dottie. She's a big sweetheart!

Dottie - Acrylic on 12x12 in. gessobord

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Water mixable oils

Last night being snowed in finally felt like the right time to crack out the oils I've been wanting to try and give it a whirl. I knew it'd be different from painting with acrylics, but it still kind of blew my mind. It made me appreciate my beloved acrylics even more for their fast dryingness I've become so accustomed to, but I'm also excited about the blendability of the oils and the rich look they can produce. I think my painting is a bit heavy on the brush strokes, my eyes would like more areas to "rest", but for a first try I'm really happy with it.

I used water mixable oils because I'm kind of paranoid about using solvents and their fumes, I'm pretty sensitive to scents and fumes and with my little unventilated studio in the Minnesota wintertime I wasn't ready to go that far. The water mixable oils cleaned up really easily with just soap and water as promised.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with them more. I'll never completely abandon my beloved acrylics though!

Firsts - 5x7 oil on gessobord

Monday, November 19, 2018

Crayfish with Lemon

This one's a tad...different, but I liked all the red and yellow in the reference photo.

Crayfish with Lemon - 5x7 in. on archival cardboard

Friday, November 9, 2018

Love Bug

This is a practice kitty from After I got to the point you see here I went back to make a couple little tweaks and may have overworked it  - D'OH! I should have let it simmer for a while before the tweaks. Oh well. It's just a practice piece!

Love Bug - Acrylic on 6x6 in. hardboard panel

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Copper Pitcher

I adore the reflections on metals in Teddi Parker’s paintings, and after many an hour spent studying her works, I decided to give it a go.

Copper Pitcher - Acrylic on 5x7 in. gessobord

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Duck Duck Grey Duck

It IS “duck duck grey duck”, ya know! We Minnesotans have it right ;) This is from another reference photo on Paint My, I was really drawn to that orange foot! I’m really happy with how the background turned out. I sometimes rush through that part, but I tried to slow down and be more thoughtful about it this time.

Orange Foot - acrylic on 6x6" hardboard

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Across the Pond

This was painted from a lovely reference photo off Paint My I haven't painted a landscape in ages and it was so fun! The scene is in Austria (Schlosspark, Eisenstadt according to the photographer's notes).  I tried and failed miserably at painting a hippo just before this one, so it was a relief that this one turned out.

Across the Pond - 8x8 in. acrylic on gessobord

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Yellow Vase

I picked something quite out of my comfort zone here when I’m already feeling rusty (textured glass! flowers!), but I wanted to paint something I was excited about. I have a couple commissions I’m really looking forward to but I need to get some of the rust off before I tackle those.

I originally painted the background white, and that didn’t work. I probably should have re-gessoed black over it before trying the blue, because painting the blue over the white made it lose bits of the black peeking through. I guess I still could- but I probably won’t. :)

Yellow Vase - 6x8 acrylic on archival paper

Sunday, September 2, 2018

DPW Background challenge

I painted this for the “Background challenge” on Daily Paintworks. It's a good reminder to take time and put more thought into the backgrounds, it's easy to rush through them once I'm finished with the focal point of paintings. Not sure I'd consider this a background success but it's got me thinking about them more anyway.

Little Guy - Acryic on 6 x 8 in. Guerilla paper 

Thursday, August 30, 2018


It's been a super busy month, with a trip to Chicago and house guests and a project of moving my painting set-up from the basement up into our home office. I hadn't picked up a paint brush for weeks and am feeling so rusty! To start things rolling again, of course I had to paint a Callie. :) Still feeling rusty but at least the first one is out of the way.

Callie - Acrylic on 6x6 in. hardboard panel

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Koppi, finally! - and details of my process

My poor cat Koppi never gets painted. It's not for lack of trying, but she's so difficult to paint being pure white. I thought this one turned out ok though.

Koppi - Acrylic on 8x8 in. gessobord

This is the process I use to sketch out my pet portraits before painting them. First, select a photo:

Then crop it proportional to shape of your canvas. It's pretty easy with squares, just crop it into a square. With rectangular canvases, you need to take the size of the canvas into account - for example, if you will be painting it on a 9x12 or 6x8 canvas, crop it as a 3:4 ratio. If you'll be using a 16x20 canvas, crop it as a 4:5 ratio...  

I need grids to draw out the pet portraits. I use an app called GridPainter to add grids to my photos. You tell it your canvas size, and how big you want the grids to be. I am using an 8" canvas, and I told it to make 2" grids.

Then I grid it a second time, with twice as many grids. So this time I told it to make 1" grids.

When I do my initial sketching, I use the larger grids. It's easier to know which "box" you're in with the larger grids, and it also forces me to practice my drawing more than using the smaller grids.

But after the initial sketching, I'll add smaller grids to the important areas if I feel my initial sketch is off, and will use those to finish up the sketch. I've been trying to use the smaller grids less and less...

Once the paper sketch is finished, I use transfer paper to transfer it to my canvas. The reason I don't grid and sketch directly onto the canvas is two-fold: First, I often need to start over once when I'm painting. If I've sketched it on paper, I don't have to completely re-draw the image - I can use the same paper and transfer it again to a new canvas. Second, I think it frees me up a little when painting not to have the grid on my canvas, so instead of potentially focusing too much on one little box to paint, I have to look at the photo as a whole. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Two Koi

This is my second time painting koi, and once again I loved painting the abstract-ish background.  I'm still experimenting with the Lascaux Studio acrylics, I definitely love their opacity. 

Two Koi - Acrylic on 6x6 hardboard panel

Sunday, July 29, 2018


I was trying to stay loose and paint it on thick with this one. Often I don't mix enough of the colors I need and it makes me be stingy with the paint when I don't want to be.  I was also experimenting with a different paint from my normal here, it's the Lascaux Studio line. The colors are all very opaque which I love, but also more runny than my normal Golden or Lascaux Artists acrylics. The runniness will take some getting used to. It's also hard to mix darker colors with them because they have white bases (which is what makes them nice and opaque). But I will be experimenting more with them for sure.

I have the itch to do some still life paintings next.  My drawing-from-life skills need work, but they won't get better unless I practice!  I rely pretty heavily on gridding when I draw from photos.

Flamingo - 6x8 on archival card stock

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Bunny warm-up

Feeling rusty so I warmed up with a fast-and-loose little bunny. In the reference photo, the bunny was in sharp focus and the background was blurred - I tried to recreate that but without success. It's not the first time I've tried and failed at the "blurred background" but I'll keep trying. It seems it might be easier to do if I painted in oils, but I have seen acrylic painters successfully do it so I know it's possible!

I am pushing through a plateau right now, and it's so helpful to follow other painters' blogs and on Instagram for reassurance that many go through this, and you just have to keep painting to get to the other side (until the next plateau, that is!). 

Bunny warm-up - Acrylic on 5x7 in. archival cardboard

Monday, July 16, 2018

Julia’s Cats

These are my friend Julia's cats.  I looked back to the first time I painted a grey tabby which was about 3 years ago, and was excited to see some improvement!  I was drawn to try painting this reference photo because usually I paint from pretty well-lit photos where the eyes really sparkle and can become a center focal point in the painting, but in this photo the lighting was more dimmed and the eyes were pretty dark. I really liked the mood of the photo.

I'm not so sure about the background color - it may be a bit too bright/saturated?

Julia's Cats - Acrylic on 10x10 in. gessobord

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

So happy with her stick

This is Gypsy, who is so happy with her little stick! It was such a different mode painting a dog after painting a long string of cats. Also this is a lot bigger than I usually paint. I bought some really large canvases at Michael's for 70% off on a whim recently, I want to try doing a few larger pieces. This feels like a good step in that direction.

So happy with her stick - Acrylic on 12x12 in. gessobord

Saturday, July 7, 2018


I had the urge to try painting an orange kitty on a red background. I'm not so sure now about the red background now but it fulfilled my craving anyway. :) I found the reference photo on Paint My   I'm working on a couple dog paintings now - this will be the last kitty for a bit!

Toulouse - Acrylic on 6x6 in. gessobord

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


This is the brother of Dillion, the previous kitty in my blog. This painting doesn't have my usual more colorful background, I wanted to try doing a background that brought out his pretty eyes.

Toby - Acrylic on 6x6 in hardboard panel
I have been painting a lot of cats lately and it's been fun to feel my confidence with them growing. I'm about to switch gears though for a dog commission - stay tuned!

Monday, July 2, 2018


This is my cousin Carrie’s cat, Dillion. It was pretty smooth sailing painting this guy until I got to the dreaded whiskers, d'oh! Some turned out a little heavy-handed. I must remember to go slower and do lots of practice strokes intermittently on scratch paper.

Dillion - 6x6 in. acrylic on gessobord

Friday, June 29, 2018

More than just a pretty tail

The blues in the reference photo I used for this painting were amazing! Unfortunately I could not replicate them exactly.  I hope the background doesn't look overworked, I was going one way with it and then changed direction and went over it with something more subtle and muted.

A fellow painter I know, Robin, had the generous idea of doing one painting a month to donate to Art4shelter's next annual art sale in May 2019. I think that seems like a do-able goal for me, so - just barely, here's one for June.

More than just a pretty tail - Acrylic 5x7 in. on archival cardboard

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Quiet Smile

And now for something totally's a painting of a statue. It was fun to try painting a "human" face, but within my comfort zone. I used the Notanizer app to help with finding the values. The reference photo is from, I think I'll hit them up to see if there's more cool statue photos to try.

Quiet Smile - 8x10 in. acrylic on masonite board

Saturday, June 16, 2018


This is handsome guy is Romeo. I was looking back at some earlier black cats I painted and I feel I’m making progress!

      Romeo - 8x8 in. acrylic on gessobord

Friday, June 15, 2018


This is my niece Hazel’s urban flock. Starting at the top center going clockwise around the water cooler we have Ramona, Florence, Blue-chi, Peanuts, Hello Kitty, and Sorrel.

Gossips - 10x10 inch acrylic on gessobord

Saturday, May 5, 2018


Here is Tobi, a handsome fellow who lives in Idaho. This was more good practice working on painting white fur, which is soooo tricky (for me). The woman who commissioned the painting sent me some fun photos of Tobi, including one where he is drinking out of a tea cup with his paw . Too cute! 

This was painted on a magenta background because she'd previously seen another painting I did that way and loved the bright bits popping through. 

Tobi - 8x10 in. Acrylic on gessobord

I have a few more pet commissions in the works but am also sketching out some non-pet paintings to work on to keep the variety factor going... stay tuned!

Thursday, April 26, 2018


This is Mingus! A sweet woman commissioned his portrait as a college graduation gift for her sister, as Mingus was a great study buddy. She was so excited about it she was afraid she wouldn't be able to keep it a secret until graduation. So sweet!

Mingus -  10x10 in. Acrylic on gessobord

Monday, April 16, 2018

Callie on Blue

I've still been experimenting a bit with painting on bright-colored backgrounds, in this case quin. magenta. I'm still not sure how much to leave showing through - I like little bits of it peeping out, but too much and I feel it gets distracting. I'm still trying to find that line. This one is headed for Art 4 Shelter, check it out on May 9th at the MIA!

Callie on Blue - Acrylic on 5x7 in. archival paper

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


I found a great sunflowers reference photo on Paint My I was frustrated with the yellows on my palette though. The cad yellow medium was quite dark and warm for what I was going for, and the Hansa yellow was more cool but SO transparent. (It probably didn't help that I was painting on a black background!) Overall I'm happy with how it turned out, but I'd like to try it again on a lighter background to go for cooler, brighter yellows.

Sunflowers - Acrylic on 6x6 in. gessobord

Sunday, April 8, 2018


Painting this Persian turned out to be a value study! It took me three tries to finally get it right.  Here they are, with the final one first.

Wiley (final) - Acrylic on 6x6 in. gessobord

Wiley - second attempt
Wiley - first attempt

Friday, March 30, 2018


Do you ever get the sense your cat is only half listening to you? Here she’s even got one ear turned away!!

I never get tired of painting Callie’s glorious mane.

Half-listening - Acrylic 6x6 in. on gessobord

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sunny Side

I found this very cool reference photo on Paint My I was curious to see if the photo's cool composition would translate into a painting. This is another of the pieces I've been working on for Art 4 Shelter (May 9th at MIA).

Sunny Side - 5x7in. Acrylic on archival paper

Monday, March 5, 2018

Hollyhocks for Art 4 Shelter

I’m working on a few pieces to donate to Art 4 Shelter.  The sale this year is at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on May 9th.

I accidentally got my "stay wet" palette too wet, which made my paint a bit thinner - but I think it increased the visibility of the brush strokes which is kind of cool. I'm really loving the new paints I've been using.

Hollyhocks - 5x7in. on Guerilla archival paper

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


It was fun to get a little more abstract with this one. Someone in my class told me it had a little "Kat Corrigan going on", which made me so happy to hear! :) 

Koi - 6x6 in. Acrylic on Gessobord

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


I've been seeing a ton of beautiful floral paintings in my Instagram feed lately and was inspired to try some. I really like the "loose" (impressionistic?) style of floral paintings by Debbie and Brian Miller and Teddi Parker, and was going for that feel here. This is based on a reference photo from Paint My I'm still experimenting with the new paints and slightly expanded palette - and it was fun to paint on a black background again after taking a break from that for a while.

Gerberas - Acrylic on 6x6in hard board

Monday, February 12, 2018

Shake-it-up Callie

I've been in a painting rut lately. I've been painting quite a bit but not liking how anything is turning out. Hmphh. I've been experimenting with a few different things to try shaking things up. This painting of my favorite muse, Callie, is using a different paint brand than I normally use, and a couple added hues to my normal very limited palette (cadmium red medium and ultramarine blue, if you're curious!). I also tried a different background toning (quin. magenta) than my usual black. 

Callie study. 5x7in Acrylic on gessobord

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sun-bleached Scene (and a case of detailitis)

I've been painting a lot of animals lately so I was feeling pretty rusty for this still life. I liked how sun-bleached the scene was in the reference photo (from Paint My I got it to the point you see here and then went a little overboard with trying to add prickles to the cactus in great detail. The painting didn't seem balanced then in terms of detail, so I tried adding some detail to the wooden door in the background... it was all downhill from there. One of those times I wish there was an "Undo" button. (I could actually feel my brain mentally reaching for Control+Z!). Oh well. Here's the last point at which I liked the painting. Simpler times.

Sun-bleached Scene - Acrylic on 10x10 gessobord
I'm starting a new painting class at Wet Paint tonight with a new teacher - it will mean experimenting with a new color palette, and likely not painting on a black background like I always do. Yikes! It should be interesting - I'll share paintings from the class here!

Monday, January 1, 2018


Happy New Year! This is my niece Birdie. She's a little stinker but she gets away with it because she's so cute and so sweet. She was very hard to paint with that crazy little face and her Siamese coloring, it took me several tries.

Birdie - 6x6 Acrylic on gessobord

Here is Birdie in real life...