The Price of Freedom

Price of Freedom Orig

Price of Freedom started in 2011 in San Clemente CA. A long learning process.

POF crop






POF Adjust -ZA

POF Adjustment – Za

POF post Adj

POF Post Adj





















Design – Very Design

  • Lop-sided but too late to change that – will either adjust or crop


  • OK


  • Need to lighten and brighten background – add warmth with a bit of cool
  • Figure out background color to make figures standout


  • Loose some edges

Paint Quality

  • Want more distinct and heavier brush strokes


The Price of Freedom FASO

The Price of Freedom (scanned) This was finished and I gave it to my son and then it was published in “Rain” so he kindly gave it back to me and while I was trying to improve it before the reception, I ruined it. Glad I had the scanned image…







Plein Air – George Rogers Park Lake Oswego, OR 8/5/16

GR Park

Painted from 11:30 -2 pm 8/5/16






GR 2


GR 3








Complete 8/12/16



Experience for landscapes









11×14 canvas panel

I had blocked it in a few weeks ago and changed it quite a bit from the block-in.

Design – Very happy with the design

  • Good rhythm
  • Simplified
  • Loose


  • No depth – need to create distance


  • Need to lighten and brighten background – add green-yellow
  • Mute distant tree trunks
  • Warm foreground


Painting Quality

  • Need more variety of color
I critique each of my plein air paintings when I get back in the studio. It’s easier to assess a painting once I’m away from the subject matter; I am better able to judge how effective it is as a work of art and not be distracted by how closely I rendered the scene in front of me. With the painting on my studio easel and under good light, I take out my Critique Notebook and write down the date, size, and location of the painting. I then asses how effective the painting is in 5 basic categories: Design, Values, Color, Edges, and Paint Quality. I make quick notes on ways to improve in each of the categories. Sometimes the change will be as simple as “crop 2 inches off the right edge,” sometimes as complex as “cool background mountains, add cows to midground fields, add thicker paint in foreground.” I turn the painting upside down or look at it in a mirror to help me get a fresh view of the work; I thumb through books to find examples of paintings that accomplish what I was after; I make sketches of better designs…in short, this is my time to study and try to come up with anything and everything it takes to make the painting more successful.
Why bother to write all this down? I know it sounds pretty obsessive/compulsive, but it is so easy to just paint a plein air piece that didn’t work, come back to the studio in defeat, toss the canvas in the burn pile and move on. But what have you learned from that? What lessons are lost? If you take the time to critically look at your work and honestly try to figure out what went wrong, chances are you’ll do better the next time you get in front of the easel. Conversely, it’s just as important to critique paintings that are successful on the first go-round. If the painting was a slam-dunk, why did it work? What happened in that painting that you can remember for next time? Writing down your thoughts is critical: it cements the ideas in your brain and helps to point out areas of weakness in your work. For example, if you always write long critiques in the Design category, then you’ll know to work on better thumbnails before you start the next painting and to break out the books on composition to do some intensive study in that area. By repeatedly doing these critiques, you will become better at assessing your work. It will help you go from “I don’t like it but I don’t know why” to having a roadmap for improvement. Do these critiques as soon as possible after you’ve painted the piece–that way the subject is fresh in your mind and you will better remember what it was that you were striving to capture in the painting.
Critique your paintings right away but don’t paint the changes on the wet paintings–wait for them to dry. Why? Well, that’s the subject for my next blog post…..

My Italian Friends and Teachers

This is a reblog from my art website, http://www.sfago.comNow that I’m back home and settled in after my trip to Italy, I’m excited about reliving my  life-changing trip and art experiences in Italy.  My visits with two of my favorite artists, Giovanni Marziano in Catanzaro, Italy, and his son, Alessandro Marziano in Rome were definitely hi-lites of my trip as was my time with Francesco Bulzis in Scalea.  Amazing artists!  They’re all on Facebook -hope you look for them.

When I decided I was really going to Italy for a month, there was no question in my mind that I would take my easel and paints and that it would be the chance of a lifetime to paint with no interruptions or responsibilities.  Woo Hoo!  I have a Soltek easel that is relatively light, compact and quite easy to manage for plein air painting.   Raymar Feather-Lite linen on panels were recommended by a friend and worked well. I packed my Gamblin Fastmatte oils, and a few of my favorite brushes.  After asking for art tips from  everyone I knew who had travelled out of the Country, I printed the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the paint manufacturer that gave the exact flash point info needed by TSA, clearly stating that the oils are vegetable based and not considered dangerous.  I packed the sheets in the bag with my tubes of paint. Each manufacturer has this information on their packaging and/or web site.

Now going back several months, on Facebook, I had developed quite a network of artists from all over the world.  When I realized that one of them lived within 2 hours of where I would be living for my month in Italy, I wrote him a note and waited to see if he would respond – and he did!  And with the usual Italian gusto and open arms.  He sent me his telephone number and we agreed that I would call when we were settled in Scalea and ready to make plans for my trip to Catanzaro.

It didn’t take me long to realize that i wouldn’t be able to communicate with him on the phone – he would not be able to see the pointing and gestures that accompany the few words I could speak in Italian.  I studied the language prior to my trip but clearly not enough!  And he was at about the same level with his English skills.   We had communicated using Google Translate – love that app!!  So we continued making our plans by texting and Facebook messaging.  All went well and my 2 sisters, 2 friends and I boarded the train from Scalea to Catanzaro – lovely trip through the Southern Italy countryside.  I won’t rewrite about those details – there’s a link at the bottom of this page to a fun  blog written by my sister, The Wandering Woman, that journals more about our fun – and I mean FUN! adventure, if you’re interested.

We stayed in a wonderful small hotel just steps from Giovanni’s studio  (that he had recommended) in downtown Catanzaro so being available for time with him was easy.  More about that hotel in Lynda’s blog – would highly recommend the hotel if you’re in Catanzaro.

I hadn’t even unpacked when I rang the bell to Giovanni’s studio and received a hearty welcome.  I felt that I already knew him after corresponding and following his work on Facebook for sometime.  He seemed more somber on FB than in person, however.  In person, he’s a very humorous person, laughs a lot.  It was a bit surreal to experience  his paintings in person that I had admired on Facebook.  We decided to continue communicating via Google Translate on his studio desk computer.  It added to the adventure and we had some fun with our method. Giovanni decided to call one of his students who speaks English and she soon arrived.  I immediately really liked Maria, also an artist.  It was about then that reality hit me.  Here I was!  In Italy!  In the studio of a Master Artist that I had greatly admired for months!  And he was open, hospitable, humorous and demonstrating his art for me!  It just doesn’t get any better than that day!  It was the hi-lite of my trip to Italy.  Right there!  Right then!

We spent many hours with Giovanni and Maria.  My two friends, Nancy M and Nancy F, and my sisters, were in and out, enjoying some of Giovanni’s demonstrations with me, making the time even more enjoyable.  I’ll never forget – and want to share some of the things that I learned from Giovanni and my experience of painting in Italy.

I’m always intrigued with watching other artists paint.  I enjoy seeing how we find our own unique ways and methods, experimenting and challenging ourselves to express and communicate through our art.  Giovanni demonstrated and I was fascinated with his methods and his generosity in sharing them with me.  I felt like I was attending a workshop.   It was fascinating to watch images form on his canvas that were so real and convincing that it felt like the metal on a can that he painted with a very few quick strokes of his brush was round and cool, that the walls were textured and ancient and that the curtain would start waving in the breeze. I was in awe of his sure, limited brush strokes.  He was demonstrating the expertise that comes from a life long practice.  He learned from his father and passed his love of art on to his son, Alessandro.  Both are well known artists in Italy and beyond.

I had imagined that it must take him forever to finish a painting because of his details and realism.  Not!  I learned that realism can be fast and loose in a different way than I had imagined.  Giovanni is a master painter and because of his sureness of composition and strokes, I wondered if he ever had a failure, a painting that just did not turn out.   I asked.  He cocked his head, grinned, shrugged his shoulders, indicated with his hands and facial expression, a clear “Oh Yes”!   I laughed and told him that misery loves company – it made me feel better.  More laughter.

I told him that I’m a newbie plein air artist, that I struggle in my studio  and especially plein air alla prima.  He became serious, telling me that when we create, if we concentrate on not only just what we’re seeing – sights and thoughts, but the aromas, the sounds, the flavors and tastes, engage every one of our senses while we’re creating, that our paintings take on life and personality, become multi-dimensional.  That was profound to me!

I treasure that time with Giovanni and will never forget the feeling of the day and a half that I spent there.

Alessandro signing his newly finished painting, “Bondage” – now in my collection.

Giovanni’s son, Alessandro, lives in Rome and I was able to meet him in his studio, watch him demonstrate and had a fun visit with him as well.  He’s also a Master Artist.  Amazing!  Like his father, he’s humorous, open and very giving.  He had a couple of his father’s pieces in his studio that he had won in a bet with Giovanni.  They clearly have a great deal of respect for one another and are very close.  He has been painting since he was 2!  He said he never took actual lessons from his Father but loved art at an early age and absorbed it from living around it his whole life.  It’s his passion as well.   Both he and his father are in multiple galleries in Italy and perhaps other places.  Alessandro spoke English.  Yay!

And now for the feelings that I experienced on my Art Trek in Italy.  Exhilarated…fulfilled…enriched… Grateful!!  There really are no words…

But, I’m doin the Grateful Dance!  Still!

For a fun story  about our trip from a different aspect and more details, here it is – The Wandering Woman!

Fear, Resistance, Distraction, Oh NO!

This is a reblog from my art website,


I know about resistance…exercise for starters.  For health reasons, me, who avoided walking like the plague, was told it was the best exercise for my medical situation so I plunged into it.  I like purposeful exercise – a game of racquetball, golf, rowing a boat… but walking was what worked so…since I am also determined, I put my earphones on, clicked on one of my  audiobooks and started walking.  My life and health were at stake.  In no time at all, I overcame resistance and now, a couple of years later, I really  look forward to a long walk – an hour or so – and really miss it when I don’t manage the time for it. I never would have believed it.  Resistance was powerful for the first couple of weeks tho.


Apply this discipline to my art – to finishing a painting.  I have seven that are in various stages of “getting there”, most about an hour from completion and have been waiting patiently for almost 2 years.   They need final little touches, one or two minor things that bother me.  I set them aside and go on to a new one.  It’s a definite pattern of mine – and a big old struggle.


I needed to travel earlier this week and was on the road for about 6 hours each way.  I really enjoy the time to myself, and part of that enjoyment is listening to my favorite audiobooks.  On this trip, I decided on “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.  I haven’t listened to it in several months – and I need it right now.  I’d recommend it to anyone – you don’t need to be an artist.  Resistance rears it’s ugly head in many parts of my life and in many forms.  Maybe yours too?


As I listened to it – on the way “there” and again on the way home, I heard things I hadn’t heard when I had listened to it a few months earlier.  About fear.  About not knowing what to do so not doing anything at all.  About all of the distractions caused by “resistance”.  The message hit home.   I’ve spent days, months and years avoiding my art on the premise that I didn’t know where to start, what to do next, or just plain felt blocked.   Distractions?  Yes, I have experience in that department as well!  I can spend hours reading blogs about art, being “inspired” by other artists on Facebook, and yes, even writing my blog, among many other things.  I’ve told myself many times that I didn’t have a long enough block of time to bother getting started… that I had cleaning to do…someone would call and invite me to go shopping, get a pedicure…blah blah blah…you know the story.


I am a professional artist.  I love painting.  It’s good for my soul.  It’s my prayer, my relaxation, my expression of love.  It’s what I need to do. I would definitely do it no matter what.  If I were the last person on earth…yes…I’d still be painting.  I can’t help myself.  If I don’t paint on my canvas, I’m painting in my mind.  I get in bed and can’t quit painting so many times have gotten back up to paint for just a half hour more.  Right.  Dawn arrives and I had no idea where the time went.

Progress.  Something clicked as I was listening to “War of Art”.  Somewhere inside, I “got it”.  I stepped to a new level of pushing through.   No matter how I “feel”, I say a prayer – 0ut loud, as Steven Pressfield does – step up to my easel, pick up my brush and it happens. I’m painting.   It really is that simple.  Not easy, but simple.  Woo Hoo.  So far so good!  I’ll try to remember this action and if I forget, I hope I remember to read this blog…


Thank you, Steven Pressfield for overcoming your resistance to finishing your book!



I’m doin the grateful dance….

A New Feature – My Paintings with Stories by Sarel

One of my favorite storytellers, Sarel Venter, a friend I met on Facebook, writes many wonderful stories, some inspired by my paintings!!  I’m so honored and thrilled!  I’ll post them on my website as he sends them to me and also blog so that you can enjoy…


One of Sarel Venter’s stories is written for “Interlude”, one of my new paintings, now in a BoldBrush competition, by the way…. (If you’re on Facebook, hope you vote for it.  Click Here and then scroll down to find the BoldBrush Competition Link, click on the image and “Like” to vote.  Thanks!)





"Moonlit" $850 Framed 24x30x1.5 Gallery Wrap. Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

$850 Framed
24x30x1.5 Gallery Wrap.
Acrylic and Oil on Canvas


Beautiful, very high quality prints of this and other images are still available in a variety of sizes and prices.  Check them out here

For information about the original, “Moonlit”, or an individually artist enhanced giclee, please Contact Sharon