I have been working in the studio steadily this week, with just time in between to let a layer of color dry, or sketch a new idea, or just think of what I want to do next. It’s great when the rhythm of the studio takes over.

And often I keep the momentum going by reviewing my ideas from my travels.  Things that I suspected were important in some way when I first sketched or photographed them on location, jump out at me again and again from the images I have taped to my studio wall.

A small part of "The Wall" in my studio.

A small part of “The Wall” in my studio.
















I started on an image from my trip to England last summer…the Tate Modern and an exhibit on Cy Twombly’s later works, one of my favorite artists.


The Tate Modern in London on a rainy morning. The museum is in an old power station on the south bank, and is one of my favorites I return to again and again.

His work is minimal, but rich in its texture of layers.  Line is everything. As he grew older, the lines grew bolder and thicker.

Cy Twombly at the Tate Modern in London. Photo by me.

Cy Twombly at the Tate Modern in London. Photo by me.

These bold, red scars on canvas are some of his last works. But the movement and drips are reminiscent of his early works.


The negative space is as important as the stroke, which is energized and rhythmic

There is nothing like his line.

When I started my painting, I wanted the Twombly to dominate, but it is the viewer on the right, the woman in the trench coat, that I most identify with.

Step 1

Step 1–the composition and color is blocked in.

A lot of the time it is not until you actually start sketching a painting that you know if it is going in the right direction or not.

In to the middle

In to the middle

ImageThe Twombly needed to take over the image, but not lose the viewer.

It’s when you get in to the middle of the piece that it gets rough.  The beginning is exciting and somehow at the end, fine-tuning the details is rewarding and peaceful.


But especially in the middle of the work, decisions need to be made that will alter the outcome dramatically.  The mind works on high-speed making trying to understand what the story is. And often it means going in and taking a chance of wrecking the whole thing to make it go beyond the expected.

Image 5

Twombly at the Tate. Painting by me.

When it is finished you somehow just know.  When I was less experienced, I think I often stopped too early…didn’t take the chance of going too far. Now I seem to know just how far to push.

For information on the creative workshop in Bath, England next September, click on “Workshop” at the top of the page.