On a beautiful day like the one that is unfolding outside I think of the fall foliage that has appeared in my paintings over the years.

Here in the commissioned Admired Woman the orange leaves are against the blue sky. This is the use of complementary colors. Setting orange against blue makes them each appear brighter. If you look at my paintings you will see I use this technique quite a bit. I love the brightness of color.

In the portrait of Scratch I used the fall leaves as a way to frame her. The sun was shining on her as she sat in front of the glass door.

acrylic 20″ x 16″
copyright 2012 ECR

To finish the lesson on complementary colors I would like to point out the pop that occurs when red and green are next to each other.

acrylic 18″ x 24″
copyright 2012 ECR

Yellow and violet finish the brief lesson when we talk about primary colors and their complements.

copyright 2012 ECR

The primaries are red, yellow and blue. Colors cannot be mixed to create them.

And now you know all about their complements, as opposed to compliments like,”Wow Beth I learned a lot from your wonderful blog.”



Black Forest Pound Cake with Cherry Sauce


My dear husband of thirty two years celebrated his birthday this past weekend so I decided to fix something delicious for dessert.

This is the Black Forest Pound Cake with Cherry Sauce from page 120 of the October 2012 Southern Living. If you don’t already know I will tell you that the best recipes in the world come from this magazine. I have prepared their cover girl cakes from the December issues for several holiday events. My son has prepared the Christmas morning pastries they feature for years and my daughter has found treasures in their pages to add to the holiday noshing.

One of my favorite contemporary artists is Wayne Thiebaud. Here is his version of chocolate cake in woodcut form.

A masterpiece.

Wayne Thiebaud Dark Cake woodcut 1983





All of my paintings start with some sort of underpainting. This is coating a canvas with a color prior to the painting of an image. All further painting will be on top of that. Many artists use a soft beige color.

I use red.

The reason for this varies from artist to artist, I like to make a mark. A way to rid myself of the perfect white canvas staring back at me.

Also, I like the depth it adds to the colors I will paint next. A richness and fullness is imparted to them.

Some mornings I start with a day painted red. Everything that comes in the following hours adds depth.



detail of Admired  Woman's hand. Oil paint.
Detail from Admired Woman. copyright 2012 ECR


Now to get started on my new blog with its rather haughty subtitle.

Art is defined, in my words, as something that gives life quality. It touches the senses, the heart and the brain.

How it touches; in a gentle way, an abrasive way, or indescribable way is the viewer’s reaction. Your feelings are yours. You cannot change the way you feel. Those feelings can change over time with more information and more experience, but as they say, “You never know how you will feel until it happens to you.”

So let the art happen to you and see how you feel.

This is my next chapter in oil.

Family Love Life Jesus Orlando Museum of Art

Family, Love, Life

Several years ago I did a painting that looked like this:

Copyright 2012 ECRommel
Family, Love, Life   24″ x 36″

I labored over this autobiographical piece depicting my days as a mom juggling my nest, my love, and my busy as a bee-ness. That is what the painting meant.

A few weeks ago in my illustrator’s critique group we were talking about what different images mean. I was reminded of art history classes, where an academician would go on and on about each detail and what the artist meant. They would tell us how experts had figured out great mysteries by examining each brush stroke. I am not breaking the DaVinci Code or revealing a great secret, but sometimes there is no big secret, no deeper meaning.

When this painting was exhibited at the Orlando Museum of Art’s First Thursday event many years ago I heard something so interesting.

Four young women, in their early twenties approached my painting.

They looked at it.

They looked at the tag identifying the materials, the title, the price, and the artist’s name.

Then the leader of the group held up her arms pointing at the mom in the painting and said,
 “This represents Jesus and his disciples. See those orange things. They are his followers.”


Finally her impressed friends responded, “Yes, I see that. You are right.”

Hmmm, I guess I didn’t see that.

I recounted the story to my husband who responded, “I can see that.”

“May you think of Easter each time you see this painting,” I say chuckling. For I do not take myself too seriously.  I do, however, take Easter seriously…Love and blessings to all.

George Washington Hannah Klaus Hunter Sally Weiner

Suggest an American Hero, Hannah and Sally did

Several weeks ago I asked on facebook who you would vote for for American Heroes.

Jonas Salk was suggested by art therapist and artist Hannah Hunter. I can understand how working in a hospital setting with very ill children would help form this suggestion.

Another nomination was for Aunt Bea. Oh Sally Weiner you made me laugh. Every time I think of this I chuckle.  Sally is a Chicago artist, photographer, portraitist, and a friend from days past in Houston. Sally used to drive a Gremlin named Morgul. With that bit of information one can understand her nomination.

In this process I see how an individual’s experience and personality form opinions and values and heroes.

My all time favorite American Hero is George Washington. I have been researching this founding father.

George Washington ECR copyright 2012

What an amazing and imposing figure he must have cut. At six feet tall he towered over other men. He had an almost mythic ability to survive battles while snipers fired, his horses being shot from under him. The restraint he had in making decisions that affect us today. He listened and weighed advice. He was not impulsive, he was religious, he was humble, he was shy, he refused to run a third time for the presidency, and refused the position of king which so many wanted for him.

My first American Hero.

Who is your American Hero? or as in Sally’s nomination of Aunt Bea, heroine.


Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Milton the Rooster

Progress is being made on my rooster painting. It has slowed as the details require more time than large swaths of color. The flower in the upper portion of the canvas is taking on its true color of purple as Milton’s feathers become thicker and have more luster.

This past weekend I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference here in Atlanta. I learned so many new things and met lots of wonderful people.

Before going to fill my brain and heart with inspiration I put together a display with new postcards and business cards. I found a small suitcase to use as a base. In years past when we lived in Texas I was a faux finish artist. So reverting to that time I applied a crackle finish and several layers of paint to gain a leather look for my valise, isn’t that a wonderful word? Valise. Some little risers and fabric covers were inserted and voila! My display…

I listened to presentations by:
The adorable and brilliant author Kirby Larsen. She traveled from Washington state to share advice, memories and a collection of quotes she had found inspiring. Kirby is a Newberry Honor Book winner for Hattie Big Sky.
Senior Editors Greg Ferguson of Egmont USA and
Kristen Daly Rens of Harper Collins/Balzer and Bray
advised us on everything from plot to covers to writing a thriller for young adults.
Mary Kole, an agent with Andrea Brown authors a blog entitled She was sparky and honest and a great dose of reality for all.
The author of the Owly series, Andy Runton, discussed his process of creating picture books and comics. He also included some nuts and bolts words on selling and finding money to print his graphic novels. Andy was the adviser who did my portfolio critique. He was kind and made good suggestions on adding depth to some paintings and illustrating a book for practice.

I have a critique group in the making, my marching orders and wonderful memories. That is all and more than I could have asked for.

Rooster Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

The Rooster Review

As you may recall here is rooster number one from the first day of class. By the way, our esteemed instructor, Pat Hobaugh has named him Milton. This was a study I did for position and colors.

This was the value study on a larger 16″x 20″ canvas.

Here is Mr. Mardi Gras himself, some purple, green and gold. My New Orleans roots must be showing, as anyone from there can tell you,”purple, green and gold go together”. Hmm really? Just not in the real world, but who said New Orleans was the real world?

The latest installment of our class still life. Calming the colors somewhat with a more lifelike palette. There will be more to come on Milton and his flowers.

This weekend I am attending a conference of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, here in Atlanta. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to hear words of wisdom from professionals in the field. I have used a lot of ink and paper printing 8″ x 10″ images of my work to fit in a small leather book. There will be a portfolio review which I am taking advantage of. A little feedback is always helpful and hopefully some direction as to where to turn my efforts next.

Children’s books or galleries? As always, stay tuned I like seeing you here. Thank you and have a peaceful and safe week.

Callanwolde Pat Hobaugh Rooster Saturated Color Wizard of Oz

Saturated Local Color

Oil painting class is continuing at the beautiful Callanwolde with patient and talented instructor Pat Hobaugh. Over the last two weeks we painted our still lives as value studies. As you can see my rooster has a sepia toned Depression era look about him.

The following week we applied “local color” in a flat wash over the painting.

If you have followed my blog for a time you know I like color. My rooster has taken on a Wizard of Oz, Somewhere Over the Rainbow appearance with his saturated colors.

The lady who sits next to me, Tariqa Waters, is a wonderful artist. She has chosen a different perspective on the flowers, rooster, and “what-not” sitting on display for our artistic endeavors. Here is her value study:

Now, with local color added.
She has chosen a more muted palette than I.

We were all hesitant to add color, being pretty pleased with our tonal studies. It was a leap to just add color. Later this week we will add details and enhance the light and dark.
Stay tuned for more as our paintings progress.

pets poodles Portrait

A Poodle Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I have been at a loss for words so have not been writing too much. I have been painting so thought a photo of the latest pet portrait would suffice. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
If you are interested portraits are done by commission. You can contact me at for more information.