Thank you for your patience….

It’s been a while I know. It’s hard writing anything when one is in a dark place. Slowly the light is beginning to seep in and brighten things up a bit. I’ve also been suffering with chronic lower back pain. I can’t sit for long periods of time, making it difficult to get any work done. I had to put the editing of Teacups and roses on hold as we had software issues and in the middle of switching to another program and learning how to use it! By end of July we should be back to normal and get back on track. I signed up with a new gallery and right now, I’m painting like crazy to replenish my stock.

I also just started a huge piece, 4′ x 5′ and will be uploading my progress with images and some video footage. I’ve spent that last few days prepping my panel for painting.

Over the many years of oil painting, there are some process that I’ve learned to implement when it comes to prepping painting panels. I way prefer painting on a wooden panel as apposed to canvas. I use Gamblin’s oil painting ground to seal the painting panel and once dry, I prime the panel with a mix of underpainting white and burnt umber. Basically an off white color to break the stark white ground.

New panel

Mixing white and burnt umber

Prepping panel

Yes, tinting ones canvas is great, but the main reason I prime my canvas with a layer of  oil paint, is Tooth. Your paint needs something to adhere to. I found that first priming this way, I can go over my entire canvas with one pass without having to go back to repaint or touch up. Alla prima made easier and quicker! Yes it takes a week to dry, but it’s worth it, believe me, you will be so glad you waited patiently. It literally cuts painting time in half.

You’re probably wondering what I’m going to be painting on such a huge panel?


One of the best ways to improve your work….

Don’t you wish winter was over? I know I do… I’m more of a spring and summer kinda girl. I can’t wait to work on my garden and grow veggies and soak up some warm sunshine!

Back to my studio, I’m working on a project I can’t wait to share with you! It’s big and will probably take several months to complete. In the meantime, did you know, one of the best ways to improve your work… is to paint every single day. Set a time limit and do your best to stick to it. Start with four hours and then decrease your time limit as you improve. Start with a small canvas with one object and then add a few more as long as you keep it simple. Challenge yourself with a very limited palette like I did on with the bowl of eggs and water and the silver sugar bowl. When your time improves, challenge yourself with a larger piece. Anything is paint worthy. Coffee mugs, teacups, glass or even a rusty old pot. It doesn’t really matter. Pick something and go for it!

Begin with an underpainting using burnt umber and then add color. Try to stick with a very limited palette to challenge yourself even further.

I would Love to see some of your studies! Feel free to post your pics in the comment section below!

Silver sugar bowl

Painting eggs and water1

Apples for christmas



How to set up a painting studio for the DIY Artist!

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Earlier this year we moved out of a huge three bedroom house into a cabin in the middle of the woods. We built a gorgeous little 8’x8′ studio we share. I literally work in an 8’x4′ space! Marc salvaged a skylight from a construction job and installed it right in the middle of the studio brightening our space and opening up the ceiling to a beautiful view of trees and sky!

I had no room for my studio easel, so I designed one I could mount on the wall. I got rid of my huge palette table freeing up my much needed floor space. Instead, I mounted a clip board on the wall to hold my disposable palette. To steady my hand while I paint, I mounted an attachment with a 1″ stick to the top of my easel.

The white box on the wall is for a still life set-up. There are great benefits to having my still life next to my easel at eye level. One being, I can sight size and the other is not straining my eyes. The advantages of having my palette right next to me is I can match colors more effectively. It’s preferable to have a neutral toned palette which I will make with a piece of glass. I’ll show you later when I make mine. I do intend painting the inside still-life box another color, probably a darker color, something more suitable for still-life painting.

Not everyone is blessed with a skylight and and sometimes when the skies are too grey, I’ll switch the light on to brighten things up. I found this awesome light I want to show you. The color of the light 5000k which is perfect for painting. Kelvin is the color of the light. A kelvin over 5500 is too blue and less the 4800 is too yellow and can mess with your judgement and optically mess up your palette colors. That’s why it’s best to stick with 5000k, it’s not yellow nor blue, but right in the middle. I’m currently using GE Power Source…. It’s a skylight without a skylight. the best light I’ve ever used! I can’t remember how much we paid for it. Under $200 I think. Well worth it!

Mount on the ceiling behind you at 35% as high as you can, and about 4′ from the top of your canvas. This way you can illuminate your work without glare.

I attached a door with hinges to a little book shelf, turning it into a drying rack for my painting panels. This way I reduce the dust and kitty cat fur off my freshly primed panels. I will update with more images when I’m done tweaking.

Let me know what you think of my Shabby chic studio!



I’ve completely streamlined my studio…

I woke up this morning determined to complete my shabby chic studio. I can’t wait to show you my beautiful easel and my studio set-up. I’ve completely streamlined my studio which is perfect for anyone who has limited space.  I live in a little cabin in the middle of woods, we had to do a lot of downsizing and streamlining. Marc salvaged a skylight and we installed it on the roof over my studio space. I absolutely love it! I have all this natural daylight flooding my studio, it’s north facing, so the light is pretty even. I used to have this huge studio easel and a huge palette table that took up way too much floor space, cramming my studio. Now… my easel and my palette are mounted on the wall, nothing touching the floor! Even my still life box is mounted on the wall, all at eye-level. I also turned a little book shelf into a drying closet for my freshly primed painting panels, minimizing the dust factor. There’s nothing worse than cat hair and dust settling on wet primer. Not long now, I’m almost done and I’ll upload some pics. So excited to show you!

Have a wonderful day and happy Painting!

Coming soon ~ ‘How to set-up a Shabby Chic Oil Painting Studio for the DIY Artist!’

Good morning! I love waking up to Montana’s happy face on my easel, I can’t help but smile back at him :- ) After a stationary bike ride, with a beautiful view overlooking the woods, breakfast and shower, I’ll be back in my studio completing Montana.

Last May, we moved out of a large three bedroom house and into a cabin in the woods. I love it here, it’s so peaceful and serene. I love walking in the woods. The Tall trees are so majestic, standing silently I’m embraced by their energy and I feel so tiny in the enormity of it all. Yet I know it is us who create our reality. We are so incredibly powerful, yet we know nothing of ourselves and how to utilize our powers for the good of the whole.

Marc built me a beautiful studio with a skylight right above my head. About 80% of the entire studio was built using recycled materials. Mostly with large windows. He paneled the walls with recycled fence boards and used them for the floors also. All my studio equipment was custom made with recycled materials, my palette table, my easel and my computer desk. All customized for my needs. I’m going to write a new article on ‘How to set-up a Shabby Chic Oil Painting Studio for the DIY Artist’ with new pictures of my studio with how to build a very functional easel with a slider, that takes up minimal space. How to build a palette table and many more Studio Hacks. I just have a few finishing touches to do and I’ll be ready to share how we did it. Coming soon!

Have a wonderfully Productive day!




Soon my canvases will be overflowing with summer blooms…

Wow, I cant believe I have taken so long to get back to my blog! January since my last post. I have since moved into a new place, a new studio. I’m still unpacking and organizing. Summer is finally on the horizon and my veggie and flower garden has been an important priority as I prefer self sufficiency. I’m also growing my subject matter. Organized my studio and soon my canvases will be overflowing with summer blooms, so exciting!  Pictures coming soon…

Studio Image

Studio Image

Super sweet Studio idea….

Here’s a great idea how to steady your hand for those intricate details. A dry-waller’s T Square attached to my easel. I can adjust the T square to fit the size of my canvas.


I used a nut as a spacer so the T Square sits flush against the bottom shelf. Bonus, I can always have more accurate paintings because now I can always measure to compare. How sweet is that!

My Studio is now Chemical-free…

Last night was spent endlessly coughing. I didn’t sleep. My lungs have had it with chemicals. No more turpentine. Its over between us! My studio is now chemical-free.

Thank god for Virgil Elliot. An expert in the field of Oil paint and Mediums. He has found a safe alternative for this very hazardous profession. Safflower oil for Clean-up. Here’s an article he wrote on this very subject…

“All the natural resins have their drawbacks as ingredients in oil painting mediums, and increase the likelihood of problems developing at some point in the future. The most permanent paint films result from the simplest mixtures of linseed oil and pigment. I am less leery of alkyds than I am of damar, mastic or copal, if for some reason I feel a need for a resin in my paint. I find I can paint every bit as well without resins as with them. Our health will suffer less if we can find a way to keep the air in our studio free of solvent vapors. When the paint contains no resins, safflower oil and a rag will suffice for cleaning brushes while one works, and for that matter, afterwards, if it is followed with soap and water. I use different brushes for different colors, and do not clean brushes until I’m done painting for the day. Not only does that keep me from breathing harmful vapors, it keeps my colors cleaner in my paintings.”

Virgil Elliott

How to set-up an Oil Painting Studio…

Setting up an Oil painter’s studio can be a costly affair. It doesn’t have to be. In this Article I give you the basics of setting up your studio, how to make your own easel and how to organize your space. I cover the paints and brushes and mediums I use.

To learn more about Oil Painting, I have 10 half hour video series on how to paint a portrait Get your Free Portrait Painting video series here!

I posted a short one minute video on how to mix a fleshtone for a portrait and that Video can be found HERE

Feel free to join us on The Oil Painter’s Studio Facebook Group and get in on all the awesome Videos, Tips and Lessons on everything Oil Painting!

Hope you enjoy the article and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

photo 3 (2)


This is a basic set-up with a north facing window. I bought this easel for under $250. I added the wheels so I can easilly move it around. A table for my palette and brushes. In this set-up, extra lighting is not really necessary. Some aren’t so lucky and need some kind of lighting set up to paint.


lighting skylight

Lighting is everything. I assure you, I have researched this subject thoroughly. I have tried Every type of lighting on the market. Some Artists are fortunate enough to have a north facing window, this would be an ideal lighting condition, However, some aren’t so lucky. The alternative, 5000k natural daylight. This is inexpensive and I’ve seen all sorts of companies trying to pass off studio lighting for way too much money. I was able to get mine at a fraction of the cost. I am fortunate enough to have a skylight in my studio, however on dark cloudy wintery days, I switch on my panel light, it’s like a skylight without a skylight. It’s best to mount it as high as possible at a 35% angle to prevent glare.

The reason for the 5000k light, is it is the truest light form you can paint to. The colors on your palette and on your canvas remain true. Anything else would be too yellow or orange or blue and can alter the illusion of color and you will end up with a painting that can’t be viewed in any other lighting. If you show your work in an outdoors show, your colors would be off, guaranteed, been there, got the T-shirt. I use this light, it’s pure white, neither yellow nor blue.



Although I love my floor easel, I also designed and made my own wall mounted easel with a slider. You’re welcome to copy my design. I also mounted a stick at the top of my easel on which to rest my hand. If you have a floor easel on casters, I suggest you place it on a rubber mat so it doesn’t move.

Shabbychicstudioeasel attachment

Chest of Drawers…

This is ideal for placing your computer monitor, your brushes and jars of turpentine/medium, whatever you use.

Studio setup

In the top drawer I have placed my colors in a row all along the width of the drawer. This way I can easily find the colors I need. The next drawer down I keep paper towels, rags etc. Next I keep paperwork, receipts, notes and drawing pads.

Palette, brushes, paints and mediums

wall mounted palette

I mounted my palette onto the wall next to my easel. then I mounted a piece of glass I tinted with burnt umber and white.  Here’s an article I wrote on how to tint your palette.  How to tint your palette and why you should

Brushes, I use Mightlon, they’re great brushes for an affordable price.  They hold their shape beautifully and last longer.
Oils, I’m fussy, I love Old Holland classic oils, high quality, the best I can afford. Feels good to work with, smooth and never disappointing.

Mediums. I can’t handle the smell Turpentine. Which means I can’t use Damar crystals. Too hard on the lungs for me, being asthmatic doesn’t help. FYI, Damar crystals do not dissolve in odorless turpentine or Gamsol.
For medium I use Walnut oil and Stand oil and Gamsol’s odorless mineral spirits. It takes a while for Stand oil to dissolve in oms, so give it a week or so to dissolve. Stir, never shake.

Paper towel and clean-up.

I prefer to use paper towel instead of rags to clean my brushes and for turpentine use. This way I can discard the paper-towel and not have turpentine soaked rags under my nose. I also find that the cheapest brand or even recycled paper towel is best. No lint. Avoid the big fluffy rolls of paper towel.

Even though one can’t smell the odorless Mineral spirits, it is still a chemical and is still dangerous. I paint and handle all chemicals and oils with disposable gloves.
A fan is really needed, always have the fan on when using chemicals and a window open is ideal. Vacuum and clean your studio often to rid of dust. Nothing worse than dust and animal hair on your freshly primed canvases or freshly glazed painting.

My favorite brush cleaner is Turpenoid. I can’t live without it. The best ever! It will even clean off hardened stiff brushes, it’s amazing and totally Non-toxic!

Good luck with setting up your studio and happy painting :- )

For those of you who are learning how to paint in oils… Get your Free Portrait Painting video series here!

me painting1



A studio pic…

Here’s where I work. The paintings in the background are still works in progress. To the right is my still life set-up and the painting I’m working on. The tulips are in a vase in water and I’ll lay them in the still life when I begin to paint tomorrow.

Still life set-up

I usually set up my still life near a window for natural light. At times when i need to paint in the evening I’ll use artificial ambient lighting as I prefer more subtle shadows.  But should one prefer dramatic lighting, then direct a spotlight on your still life set-up, but make sure u use the same lighting on you palette and canvas, that way your colors will remain consistent.

Studio still-life set-up