Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Holidays

Hello Dear Friends

Inside "blog land" I am happy to report that everything is warm and fuzzy.  I made some security updates to my blog and for the last month it has been free of "icky content".  So today I am declaring my blog back up and running. And you will be hearing from me again.

Outside in the "real world" there is a whole lot of "icky" going on.  So from the bottom of my heart I am wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.

And my wish for the world is PEACE and Joy today and all days.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Crazy eyed

The fact that my blog has been hacked it making me crazy.  Anybody have any ideas how to stop this?  Google isn't being very helpful.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bright island days

Bright Island Day
20" x 24"
©Maggie Ruley 2014
giclee prints available
giclee prices
This cute little side-by-side painting was in progress when a friend asked if it could have a cat element added to it.  She sent me photos of her cats and here they are added  to the scene.  Can you find Rocky and Puck?
This is what my first house in Key West was like.  The front door went straight through to the back door.  The kitchen was in the back hall area. It was cute, but no AC.  It was on Whitehead St.
Small Print.  I have a spammer putting inappropriate content on my blog.  I am taking steps to get rid of them. So far I have not had much success.  Regrets and apologies to all.

Monday, November 3, 2014

25 Words or less

Key West in 25 words or less

  • Sunny Skies
  • Ocean Views
  • Palm Trees and Flowers
  • Cute Cottages
  • Bike to Anywhere
  • And a fondness for critters

Pearl Street Morning
24 x 20 acrylic on canvas
SOLD giclee prints available
©Maggie Ruley 2014
giclee prices

A very nice couple came into the studio while I was working on this piece and bought it before it was finished.  They had one request. After it was finished and photographed would I add the name of a special dog on the gate, "Rosie".  So after it had been all set up for reproductions the way you see it here, I added "Rosie" in small letters at the bottom of the gate. Here is the lovely note I received from them.

hi Maggie, got your painting Friday absolutely wonderful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
you added Rosie and it looked perfect!! thank you so much you are such a pleasure to work with
  thanks again !!
That note made my day.  I hope you all have a wonderful day today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Up at dawn

Or we could title this ..........What I Learned yesterday.

Sign out of your blog account when you are not using it. There are greedy people out there and your friends are worth the extra effort.

And don't let your email sender do it automatically. Just in case some one put crud on your blog.

Anyway,  this is the only kind of male fowl you will ever get information about from me.  And it seems appropriate to call him..............Mister Big

Some days bring you trouble but all you can do is carry on and be grateful for your understanding friends.

Thank you,

Monday, October 27, 2014


My account sent you spam this morning.  Huge regrets. Passwords have been changed.  Interesting to note I got that same info as an email from someone else this morning

Again, BIG apologies,

Here is a pretty picture to look at.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Grand Finale

The hardest part of the 30 Day Challenge wasn't painting everyday it was finding something interesting to say every day. I'm speaking for myself of course, others might not find it a problem.
 I like to work in series and do the same subject in short bursts and then move on to the next thing.  For me a series seems to have its own life span and comes to a natural conclusion.
Grand Finale
Thanks again to Leslie Saeta and congrats to all the artists who participated.  And of course thanks to my readers.  See you in October.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sunset Tropicale

Ever notice how putting an E on the end of a word makes it more fabulous?
Royal + e = Royale
So in the spirit of "More Fabulous, Please"
Sunset Tropicale

Sunset Tropicale
11 x 14"
original oil on archival board
©Maggie Ruley 2014
Stop by my gallery to view this painting in person
933B Fleming Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
Note to e-mail readers:
To read this post in its original format click here

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pearl St. ~ Pam Hobbs ~ and more.

I have painted this cute little house on Pearl St. in the Meadows section of Key West many times.  It is a totally tricked out teeny tiny house with lots of little "cute-zees". Each time I paint it I change it up. This time I have added chickens and roosters.  And I have added a Pam Hobbs mailbox.  Pam is a friend and local artist. Her mailboxes are becoming  collector's items.  She doesn't do very many any more. Click on her name and the word mailboxes to see more of her work.
This version of the Pearl St cottage sold right off the easel the day after it was finished.  It needs a coat of varnish and then off it goes to Oklahoma.

Pearl Street Morning
24' x 20"
acrylic on canvas
$580 unframed
SOLD Giclee prints available
©Maggie Ruley 2014

Pearl Street Morning
©Maggie Ruley 2014
Pam Hobbs Mail box

Pam Hobbs Mail box

Friday, September 19, 2014

How I photography my work.

For the majority of artists the painting isn't finished when the signature is applied and the brushes are cleaned.  There are still chores to be done to get that painting out into the world and into someone's collection.  And photography is one of those tasks, (probably a better word than chore)

This painting is oil and wet and messy so paper is placed under it to protect the floor.  The photo is being taken with my iPad.

The photo is cropped to take away the distracting background.  I only leave the background around a painting if I want to show scale or some other relationship, on my easle, next to the supplies I am using, on a wall or in a room to show it hanging.

The photos above were taken with the lights on -daylight flourescent bulbs.  The photo below was taken with the lights off.  Notice the shine of the wet paint is gone and the colors are cooler.

A Hint of Fall
oil on canvas
11' x 14"
© Maggie Ruley 2014
There are, of course, other ways to do photographs.  And there are a number of professional kits you can purchase to help you.  This is just the system I use and for now it works for me.
I continue on with the 30 day painting challenge.  Painting every day is not the challenge.  The posting every day is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sun Shower Day 18 ~ 30 Day Challenge

Rain showers here in the Keys are often brief, followed by a burst of sun.  That's what this little painting is all about.
Sun Shower
8" x 10"
oil on canvas
©Maggie Ruley 2014

I always wear gloves when I use the oil paints and that handy tool with the rubber pointy end is for carving your name into the palette knife paintings.
to see more of the 30 day challenge
site takes a little while to load, lots of images
to see this blog in its original format

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blue Heron Demo ~ Day 16, 30 day challenge

 While I have been working on some smaller pieces for Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Challenge.  Work on larger pieces continues.
I thought you might find it interesting to see the progression of a recent painting. How I go from white ground to finished piece.  Above is the almost finished painting. You can see my photo taped to my work bench.  The photo comes from the art resource section of Wet Canvas.  Thank you again to all the artists who so generously share their photos.
The canvas is 24" x 20" and I am have gessoed over a painting start that I had lost interest in.  The canvas was scraped and sanded before the gesso was applied.  I just lay in the major forms to get the composition settled.

I block in the basic values.  That little white spot is going to be the turtle. At this point I am still unsure of its placement.

I have worked on the background here but not much on the heron.  I know that when I start to add the mating plumage I want the background to be pretty much finished.  I have not decided if I even want a turtle.  I decide that my next steps will be to remove that tent like shape directly over the heron's head and change the shape of the growth under his head. It is to much the same. (same is not good).

I am almost finished. I decided the turtle was essential. (it's that relationship thing again)  The plumage has gone in.  I have added colors from the sky into the water. I have started to add twinkle to the sky.  I am big on twinkle these days.
Below the finished version.
24" x 20"
$580 unframed
©Maggie Ruley 2014

Some details below.
water reflections in the initial block in

water reflections finished, with some of the thin coats of paint still visible

eye detail

head detail

colors of the water pulled into the heron's underside to suggest the reflected water.

totally cute turtle

Friday, September 12, 2014

About Your Father ~ day 13

Paintings are about relationships. (In my world of painting, that is).  Relationships between light and dark, warm and cool, foreground, mid-ground and background, large and small, lots of others, and the relationships between the objects in the painting.  Here, because of the size difference, I feel a like there is a family conversation going on between the flowers. So I have chosen the ending line of the HBO series Rome to use as a title. It suggests that the conversation is going to get very interesting. One of the few standards I hold myself to when I paint is,
 It has to be interesting,
 otherwise why bother? But of course, what is of interest to one person, is not necessarily of interest to another.

About Your Father
acrylic on paper
7 x 5" matted to 10 x 8"
©Maggie Ruley 2014

Thank you Leslie Saeta for hosting the 30 Day Challenge

To see another painting based on the Rome series
click here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On Edge ~ Day 12

I think this little vase is sitting too close to the edge and looks like it might slide off.  But I like the added pattern and reflected pattern in the vase.
On Edge
acrylic on paper
7 x 5" matted to 10 x 8"
©Maggie Ruley

nine paintings in progress
Thank you Leslie Saeta for hosting this 30 Day Challenge

Kiss a Fireman ~ Day 11

On 9/11 it seems appropriate to talk about the generosity of others.  Here are two painting tips that have been drilled into me by 2 very generous artists/teachers/mentors.  And they are tips that really work to make your paintings better and are super easy to do.
1 - top photo - A dark line at the base on an object really grounds the object.  I have placed a dark mark at the base of each vase.  Thank you Jim Salem for repeatedly drilling that into me.
2 - bottom photo - A discarded mat close at hand can be used to isolate the image you are working on and give you a clear idea of what your next step should be.  Thank you Robert Burridge.
A big thank you to all the artists/teachers who so generously share their wisdom.
 And today and all days a huge thank you to firemen, police officers and first responders.  A kiss and hug to you all.
acrylic on paper
7 x 5" matted to 10 x 8"
©Maggie Ruley 2014

nine floral paintings in progress
©Maggie Ruley

Thank you to Leslie Saeta for hosting this challenge.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fast and loose ~ Day 10

Day 10 of the 30 Day Challenge and I continue to work on my flower series.

acrylic on paper
7 x 5"
Matted to 10 x 8"
©Maggie Ruley 2014
As I continue to work on the backgrounds of the paintings I only add minimal paint to the vase interiors.  I want to keep the transparent and reflective look of the vases.

nine little bouquets in progress
At the stage you see here the painting is going pretty fast and loose.  Jacklyn Karabaich asked me if I was using fluid acrylics.  They aren't fluid as in Golden Fluid Acrylics but I do like the softer bodies paints like Lukas and Amsterdam.  I also use gesso for my white.  A Bob Burridge trick.
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Duet ~ Day 9

acrylic on paper
7" x 5" matted to 10" x 8"
©Maggie Ruley 2014

The painting above is the middle painting, middle row in the photo below.  You can see it changes a lot from this stage to the final painting.
This is a painting exercise I learned from artist
Nine little bouquets in progress

Each little painting is starting to take on a life of its own, but I still leave them joined.  They do not get separated until they are all finished.  All of the paintings get worked on at the same time.

To see day 9 from last year
To see the other paintings in the 30 day Challenge

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Today's Bouquet

I 'm taking a Robert Burridge workshop in February, (birthday treat for myself) so I am refreshing myself with his techniques.  This will be my 3rd workshop with Bob.
Today's Bouquet
7" x 5"
acrylic on paper
matted to 10" x 8"

Burridge starts his studio day with small warm-up paintings on paper.  A sheet of water color paper is toned and then divided.  While the paint was still wet I used the end of the paint brush to lay out basic shapes and composition.  The paintings are all 7" x 5".  By the way, did you know, that painting dimensions are correctly given as vertical size first and then the horizontal dimension?
The painting above was the lower right hand grid.  As you can see the final composition is different than the first one.  If you take a Burridge workshop you will hear him say, "Anybody who doesn't change their mind, doesn't have one." 

Today's Bouquet is painting # 7 in Leslie Saeta's 30 day Painting Challenge

Friday, September 5, 2014

Simplicity Day 6 30 day challenge

There are 2 painting supplies that I find make my life easier when I paint with oils; Weber Res-n-gel and Winton mixing white.  The res-n-get is a paint extender and drying agent that adds a beautiful uniform sheen to the colors and the mixing white is a big soft fluffy white paint a little on the cool side.  Making painting easier is a good thing.  I can stay in a positive mood and create more to send out into the world.  I call it
 -paint and release-
oil on canvas panel
11" x 14"
© Maggie Ruley 2014

Today's painting is inspired by the painting seen here

The photo below is a more accurate color representation of today's painting.  The photo above is a little on the warm side. 

Always buy the big tubes of white, always, always, always! Unless they are Out :(  Or you just want to test a brand.

A painter needs more than one knife. The unfortunate thing about knives is once they bend they are useless, and they tend to be on the bendy side.  I'm not sure why that little foam brush is in the pic?  Maybe a photo bomb?

To see the other paintings in Leslie Saeta's 30 day painting challenge

to see the full blog post

to go to my web site

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reinventing the wheel Day 5

One way to find inspiration in the studio is to "Reinvent the Wheel"

Here is how I do that.  I make a watercolor sketch from a finished painting I like.  I know this is backwards but it works for me. Some times I use watercolors, sometimes I use a watercolor app.
Islands in the clouds
oil on canvas panel
11" x 14"
©Maggie Ruley 2014

Islands in the Clouds was inspired by "watercolor" below
digital watercolor
©Maggie Ruley 2014

This "watercolor" is derived from the acrylic painting below

Sunset on the Gulf
acrylic on canvas
20" x 24"
©Maggie Ruley

I have the Waterlogue app and I use it to make watercolor sketches.  The "watercolor" is the bare bones of the painting and I used it as a sketch for today's oil painting.  I can use the same sketch over and over because the finished paintings will never be the same.  There is always something I want to change on the next one.
To see the other paintings for today in the 30 day challenge

To see day 5 from last year click here
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