Thursday, November 27, 2014

George on a Windy Day

George on a Windy Day     18 x 24     Oil on Linen

I used a very old photograph for this painting. It was probably taken around 1977 or 1978. George is at the helm of Endymion I our beautiful wooden Samurai Sloop that was designed for the rough New England waters by the firm of Eldridge-McInnis. We bought this boat in Edgartown and it had partially sunk at her mooring and so we got it cheap. We sailed it from Martha's Vineyard to Mystic and didn't know if it would sink again, or if the engine had really been fixed. It was quite a nail biting adventure and we were nervous about it, to the point of asking a sea-going friend to help us bring her to his shipyard where we spent an incredible number of hours and tons of money fixing her up.  

This was shot (probably by George) of the boat at the Edgartown Marina dock, ready for us to get underway. I am leaning over looking at the cockpit, and our friends who drove us to Martha's Vineyard are standing behind me. We had many glorious times aboard this dear boat of ours and it was so magical we decided to sell everything, and buy a new Endymion that became our home for about 8 years. 

The original photograph of George is very out of focus, and probably taken while the boat was pitching up and down. I did some serious photo editing to bring it into better focus, and I put in a more interesting sky that I found in my files.

I used to do many portraits but after we moved to Florida, and the economy got so terrible the market for portraits diminished to nothing, and I didn't do many, especially in oil paint. I wanted to get back into it, and decided to teach a class in portrait painting, but didn't have any that I could use as proof to show my class that I could do it! So I got busy with this effort of George and I used it as an example of using photo editing to enhance the portrait painting experience.

As a frustrated English Major I can't help myself from writing, and so I have a number of booklets and monographs, self-published, that I use in my classes with the hope that those few who actually read them will benefit from the step by step instructions I give. Should you want to see the booklet that I give to the Portrait Painting with Help class using the painting of George as the demonstration you can go to my website here. The booklet is the last one in the list, so you will have to scroll down.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Awe      Oil on Linen      48 x 30

I made the big leap yesterday and signed Awe. That means it is finished. I seldom work on a signed painting. The horrendous time I had with this painting is well documented on this blog, starting here on July 9, 2012 and continuing through nearly two and a half years of trouble. The tear in the canvas is hardly visible, but I have reduced the final price of the painting from $6000 to $5000 in case someone complains about "damaged goods". It is going to Carrollwood Cultural Center tomorrow morning to be in the National League of American Pen Women show, which I am Curating. That will be my last hurrah as a Curator and I am thankful that part of my life is over and I can focus energy on the next Feeling Series painting which is "Guilt". Now that my house is stripped of most of the work on the walls, going out to various shows around Tampa Bay, I feel kind of weird, both relieved and at the same time unsettled. I never make predictions about my artwork, so I have no idea when Guilt will be started and how it will develop, and it is always sad to remove a all the trappings of Awe from the studio and clean up the mess of photos, paint tubes, and other paraphernalia I have accumulated for this painting. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Divinum Spiralem

These are Egg Tempera "miniatures". The square ones are 4 x 4 inches and the rectangles are 5 x 3.5 inches. I was inspired to paint shells after writing my article on the Golden Ratio several years ago. Recently I did a more in depth investigation of the Golden Ratio and made a fairly extensive PowerPoint document about it. I collected shells as a young girl on the beaches of Sanibel Island, off the Gulf coast of Florida, back when there were few people and buckets of amazing shells. I have always had a fascination with shells, and occasionally they have appeared in my work, but this is the most ambitious offering of shells taking the better part of two years to complete, working on them part time several times a month in my painting group. I had started out with the idea that these would be submitted to the Florida Miniature Society show but sadly they do not fit in with the 1/6th rule of miniature paintings and I'm not even going to try, even though many have told me that they often bend that rule. I have made them into a group and attached them to a foam board for a show at Carrollwood Cultural Center in November 2014, after which I may break them up and get each of them framed separately. That remains to be seen. You may be curious what the "G and the number" means....G is my nickname and I often use that to sign small works and the number is the year it was completed.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Golden Ratio

This is a link to a PowerPoint presentation about the Golden Ratio, Golden Rectangles and the Golden Spiral in math, nature, science and art. The mystery of phi and the associated mathematical sequence of the Fibonacci numbers are so powerful as to have led our ancient ancestors to call it Divine. It certainly seems to be the underlying order to the apparent chaos of nature. I gave this lecture to the North Tampa Arts League on September 24, 2014. Several years earlier I wrote an article about it for my art and photography students which you can read here Since then I did a great deal of new research and found a wealth of information and really good websites on the subject, as well as obtaining the DVD lectures from The Great Courses The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas. Some of the new information is quite interesting, and different from my earlier article, where the Chambered Nautilus Shells is the famous emblem of the Golden Spiral and the Fibonacci numbers in nature, turns out not to be a Golden Spiral after all, but a kind of inverted one instead. 

Do not be alarmed by the math aspect of all this. I have a famous history of being totally mathematically challenged, from first grade when we were asked to look at our booklets in which there were cartoon illustrations of math problems. "There are three monkeys in a tree. One fell out, so how many are left?" My hand went up. "What happened to the monkey?" I asked my not amused teacher. And from that point on my association with mathematics went south! But I do have a kind of morbid fascination with all this, although I can't understand the equations that solve the riddle of Phi, but I can appreciate the wonder of it all without knowing a scrap of algebra! 

And, as an artist, I can certainly understand how the power of the Golden Rectangle has been used in art, industrial design, and architecture through the centuries. I certainly understand how the Golden Rectangle is featured in my own artwork!

Incidentally, if you do go to to look at the slides you need to advance them manually and it is a bit difficult to see how to do this if you are in full screen view. Put your mouse in the lower right corner and a little arrow appears. Click and you go to the next slide.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Map to HCC Gourmet Room for My Show

The Campus is located on Tampa Bay Blvd. which is just south of Raymond James Stadium on Dale Mabry Hwy. Turn west into Tampa Bay Blvd. and the campus will be on your right. Park in the General Parking Lot. The Gourmet Room is located in the Humanities Building, Room 118. See the circle on the map. If you can't find it, ask someone.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Awe Update

Remember? This was on July 14 When my dear friend's mop handle went through Awe
I picked up the painting this afternoon (my birthday!) and the restoration is amazing
Here is a detail of the tear on the front. I plan to paint a bud and leaf over it so it will be practically invisible. It is a beautiful repair
This is the back of the painting showing the tear. I don't really mind that it shows on the back. 

After this happened I decided to repaint the whole thing from scratch and ordered the stretchers and canvas for a redo. After seeing the photographs the restorer sent me I thought it would be a good idea to wait to see it finished. Now I just have some finishing to do on a few areas of the lower part of the painting and add something over the tear and price the painting for less than the original amount, and be done with it.

I am indebted to Anna Granina who lives in Land O Lakes, Florida, and is a fantastic art restorer who worked for many years for the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Additionally she is a very accomplished artist and I met her at one of the shows I curated at Carrollwood Cultural Center. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Art Show

I will have a show of my Genesis Series paintings, and some other fruit and vegetable offerings, in this delightful dining room which is actually a laboratory for the students in the restaurant and hospitality department of the Hillsborough Community College. When I met with the staff the other day, the chefs were getting excited about what kind of food coordination they could create to go with my paintings for the opening reception.
The room is small and so they ask that reservations be made. The show will be on display until December 5th and lunches and dinners are served 3 days a week (check website for the schedule of international cuisine offerings), the price is fantastic and I will probably be going there for lunches and dinners though that time period. Want to meet me there?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Perfect Picture

Oil on Linen     18 x 24     Private Collection (sold 9-6-14!)
You might ask "why so cheap?" This is quite a big discount for one of Gainor's paintings!

I did this painting on speculation after someone inquired about the previous painting of the same setting called "The Cranes of Carrollwood" which was both already sold and too expensive for their budget. I wanted to practice stretching canvas and used my new air compressor and pneumatic staple gun and the result is frightening mess and the corners are worse...each one folded differently and not professionally at all...thus the deep discount for messy stretching. But the painting is quite nice and has those same Sandhill Cranes and a lady from my Digital Photography class is snapping their picture. For those of you who don't know me the silver Scion is my car traveling along the street in both paintings! Now I want you to know that I have some skill at photo editing and I was not driving my car AND making this painting at the same time! Nor were the cranes and the lady in that exact location at the exact same time, although both of them were in the park at some time over the past 4 years when I go out there with my Digital Photography students to hunt down interesting photographs. Sometimes I'm grateful that I have a need to clutter up my hard drive with hundreds of photos of the same thing, over and over, and I have a wealth of images to get exactly the right lighting although the lady in the red shirt had to be moved and flipped so she would make the composition of the painting work. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Genesis: Tangerine

Genesis: Tangerine      Egg Tempera       6 x 8     $450
I am still painting them! All together this one makes 34 Genesis paintings finished with 12 of them sold. Two are in the wings and I hope to have them finished by the end of September when I have been asked to have a show of them at Hillsborough Community College in their gourmet cafe. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Cranes of Carrollwood

Oil on Canvas        22 x 30      Private Collection
The serene park behind the Carrollwood Cultural Center buzzes from time to time with vendors during our Arts in the Park, and during the Market on the 2nd Saturday of the month. It is always a place of variety and interest during these events, but my main interest in this lovely setting is during my digital photography class when I take my students out to photograph whatever they can find here. I have made hundreds of photographs of this place, usually in the late afternoon when the light is casting long shadows and the trees are dark against the setting sun.

There are always things of interest; birds, bugs, lizards, and passing people on foot, on bikes and in cars. I wanted to capture the serenity of the place, as well as the wandering Sandhill Cranes who seemed totally oblivious of us shooting our cameras madly at them.

This was an especially nice painting for me to do, as it is always nice to work a landscape, and it was particularly nice to associate my painting with a job that has been a wonderful experience for me, as the Art Curator of the Carrollwood Art Gallery. I’m moving on, to give myself more time for my artwork, and I feel that this is a symbolic painting as I retire from one thing and move into another. All that green and blue seems so peaceful and quiet, with just a glimmer of exciting red here and there. Life is like that, I think. Or, if it isn’t, it should be!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Anniversary Flowers

Anniversary Flowers    
Oil        18 x 24      $425 (framed) 
I celebrated 41 years of sobriety in April of this year (2014) and my beloved meeting gave me these flowers, which were bigger and more impressive than what Vivian gets for the other celebrants who get a few carnations and a couple of sprigs of baby's breath and a few ferns. I was very pleased to be so honored! Then, about the same time, the Les Girls group gave me the cream and sugar bowl as a thank you for giving them a Show at CCC. I provided the Petits Four for myself and couldn't resist taking a bite out of one of them as I was arranging it on the plate! I don't often, if ever, do a black background, which will have to be finished with retouch varnish to even out the shiny and matte sections. Actually the background is not black but a combination of ultramarine, viridian, and alizarin crimson. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Luscious Fruit

Luscious Fruit         9 x 12       Oil        $145.00 

This little canvas was a last minute throw-together when I realized I forgot to bring my work-in-progress canvases to my Tuesday night class. I raced over to our neighborhood Publix Supermarket and grabbed what looked inviting and this little still life is the result. I didn't work on it very long, perhaps 2 or 3 sessions, and wanted it to be kind of loose. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Awe Disaster

I spent all day last Wednesday repainting the sky....again! For cripes sake. I learned how to take out brush marks, thanks to the internet by "flogging" my painting with a soft dry brush and finally after days of drying time, this morning I decided I could live with the result. I had also repainted the flowers and felt that I only needed one more session to pull the painting together and call it finished. Today my friend came to help me clean my house and she was mopping the floor behind my easel and the painting fell, and hit something, we don't know what, because I was in my office on the phone and didn't see the resulting disaster. I am still feeling sick to my stomach about this. Obviously it ended the major cleanup of my house and I got on the phone immediately to a lady I met a few months ago who is a fine art restorer. I will take the painting to her this afternoon to assess the damage. Hopefully it can be repaired. If not I will have to repaint the painting...2 years gone in one instant. I am really devastated right now, and feel really awful, and my friend is beside herself as well. So there is more to come on this painting, which has been a total hassle from the start. It just can't end like this!!
This is the tear.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stars and Stripes Finished

Stars and Stripes      Oil on Canvas     18 x 24      $400
This painting was done for our July/August show at Carrollwood Cultural Center, which is called "Celebrate America" with a widespread assortment of themes and images possible. This is my entry. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

WIP (work in progress)

Stars and Stripes     Oil on Canvas       18 x 24
Our July/August show at Carrollwood Cultural Center is called "Celebrate America" and I really wanted to get something to show for myself. As usual I tried to make something way more complicated than what you see here, and my ideas had to be scrapped due to time limits and energy levels. I was going to make my own fabric drapery using images I've taken across America, cropped into large star shapes, and applied to fabric using the transfer and iron method. It could have been interesting, but when I thought about all that difficult perspective and folds and weird images, I realized I might have it done by Christmas! So...the edited version is what you see here and I need to have it finished and dry enough to hang by the 30th of this month. I'm about to spend the rest of today working on it, also another day tomorrow, and hopefully Sunday as well, and then I think it will be close to finished. The canvas is one of those deep gallery wraps so I don't have to worry about a frame for it.


When I overpainted the last mess with pure cobalt blue (Winsor and Newton) the wet paint looked fabulous and as it dried this is what I got. It is still slightly wet in a few spots, and so I'm back to wonderment with what is happening here. It is better than the last time, so I guess the next step is to cover it again with pure cobalt out of the tube and keep trying until it dries a solid color without the mottling. I can only say that in my 55 years of painting I've never experienced anything like this before and I am so frustrated. I'll let it dry another few days and see what happens next.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Two New Nude Monotypes

 Monotype Nude #1     14 x 20    POR
Monotype Nude #2   14 x 20      POR
I had a nice day with my friend Marcia who wanted to work on some more monotypes with me. She has done this before, coming out from Tampa to work in my studio, since I am now unwilling to schlep all my gear into Carrollwood Cultural Center for a one day Monotype Workshop which was a killer the last few times I've done it. So it is my studio or nothing from now on. When Marcia comes it gives me a day to get some of my own monotypes created. These are two nude studies I did that day using models I get from, a nifty way to get wonderful models for not much money, who don't move and are never cranky or hung over, at least that I know about! At least I know they are going to show up...a common problem with live models, many of whom are not really very professional.

Monotypes are basically a print of a painting, created on a nonabsorbent surface (I use Plexiglas or acrylic panels) with inks, or almost any kind of paint. I am not overly enthused by my efforts to make watercolor monotypes, but they are possible. Acrylics are also possible, but I don't like to use them. Normally my best monotypes are made with oil paint on wet etching paper, Rives BFK papers, although I think these two were printed on Stonehenge printmaking papers, wet. I don't have a press so they were printed with my handheld press and a spoon.

Before I moved to Florida I did many monotypes. Back then I did some very exciting experiments in monotype and was constantly inspired by the work of colleagues in the Monotype Guild of New England. How I miss those days! I love doing monotypes because it keeps me spontaneous and loose. You can't get fussy with a monotype or the paint will dry and you get spots of white where nothing prints. Paint can be dry in a matter of hours, especially in our air-conditioned work spaces in Florida.

I suspect this, along with another monotype nude I made awhile ago, (here) is the beginning of a series of nudes using various models in PoseSpace.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I am definitely freaked out!!!

What is going on here? I am so puzzled...not puzzled isn't the right word at all...freaked, confused, confounded and disheartened. So...what to do next? I guess I'll just ladle on more paint and see what happens. I thought this miserable painting was done, or nearly done. Unfortunately it isn't. Oh my...this is a bad dream.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Miss Puss as Bookends

Miss Puss as Bookends        12 x 24
Oil on Canvas           $425

In between fretting about Awe I worked on this little fantasy piece. It was much harder than it looks!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Awe - A better Photo as the Sky Dries

As the Sky Dries...sounds like the title of a Country and Western Song! Anyway, I checked the progress of the drying of the paint this morning and it looks pretty good. If I need to touch up the very top of the painting where that stripe was I can easily do it as it was Cobalt Blue out of the tube. I think I may have the problem solved, but it is still wet in places and dry in others, so I won't know for another few days.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Another Sky Redo (6-3-14)

The paint is still wet from my repainting the sky yesterday afternoon. I am hopeful that those streaks will go away once the paint is dry. I took out the very dark section of the sky at the top and put in cobalt instead of ultramarine dark. I did this to try to hide a very mysterious darkish stripe about 2 inches wide at the top. It was bothering me so much I couldn't finish the rest of the painting until it was resolved. I really like what I did with this, but I'm trying to get used to the difference. It isn't as dramatic as the dark sky, but I think I may have painted out that stripe, but in earlier efforts it popped up when the paint dried. I have my fingers crossed for this redo. We shall see what it looks like when the paint has dried. I can always go back and put that dark ultramarine sky at the top. I think the flowers look good against that more uniform blue. I cut the number of colors in the sky from 9 to 5.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Shoe Atop Star Box

Shoe Atop Star Box   Watercolor on Canvas    12 x 12   $150

I really love to work on this new canvas from TARA. Watercolors are hard enough on paper and I find I can control them better when I can wipe out sections that are going badly. The canvas doesn't stain like paper does, or fall apart from repeated scrubbings. I don't do many watercolors any more and this is from my "Sampling the Media Class" where I had time to do a demo for my students that I finished at home in my studio. It is a strange collection of objects...just stuff that was in the prop box. TARA has stopped making the 8x10 size and that is a shame. I bought a pad of watercolor canvas sheets, so I will see how they work, but I'm not likely to put them on stretchers myself, so it is back to mattes and glass with that. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Sunday...Awe is Resurrected! Oh Happy Day!!!

Notice that shiny area at the top of the canvas.
I tried to minimize the green and played down the yellow
I took this with my phone and it is fuzzy. It could be OK
this way but that yellow is still bothersome 

Easter Sunday 4-20-14. Vastly improved

My palette shows the assortment of colors and replicates those tones I used in the sky.

Over this week I made many changes to Awe. I had a difficult problem to solve with either my paint or the diamond-studded canvas that I bought 6 yards of for $250 or both! I feel like I have wrestled with the paint not behaving like it should, or perhaps I am just not used to expensive canvas. I don't know. But the problem arose when I noticed that there were areas of the sky that were shiny and others dull. I admit that I had used Oleogel Medium to make that dark blue paint brush on like it should. I get nervous when I use something like a medium because of future problems of cracking, and I don't like shiny paint surfaces, preferring a smooth matte finish to my canvas. This canvas was both taking in the paint too much and in areas it seemed to sit on the surface. After I repainted the sky, I guess on Monday, I thought it was OK but on Tuesday morning I noticed that there were brush marks and that shiny stripe at the top of the painting, that you might see in the photo of the previous post. Anyway, after much hand wringing, I decided to dive into again, and in the next few days I actually took up some sandpaper and sanded the whole sky. I have never heard of anyone doing that, but I did it, and took off the top shiny layer of paint. Then I put on more paint, by mistake I added some linseed oil to that dark blue, which was, again, not the right thing to do. I had more shiny spots and that stripe across the top was dreadful. So I got out the sandpaper again and really laid on it, and took off most of the shiny areas. This time I repainted the sky without medium getting more paint on it, and trying to blend in my brush marks. It seemed to work well, but it was still not quite right. Sunday...I started in again on it, and repainted the sky again....yikes. I was so exhausted by Sunday night I could barely function. But the painting is looking good, and there are no shiny spots this morning. I also began to work on the final go through working on the details, the flowers and the small vase was where I did most of the work yesterday. I am happy with my progress now, and feel that I am finally on the downslope with Awe! Yay!!!

You may not see the subtle changes I made, but I have reduced the green stripe significantly and downplayed the yellow above the trees. I like the green and yellow stripes, but we joke around among ourselves "don't get wed to a part of your painting" because it is often the one thing that should be removed! I finally decided that the yellow had to be minimized and it is so much better, because that stripe cut the painting in half, and was way to bright. I should have known...but I admit that I was wedded to it.

So having made these changes I am now ready to work on those details that from a distance you can't really see, but close up need attention. How much longer? Who knows. At the end of July it will be two years on my easel. I am definitely sick of it!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Awe" 3 months later

I am having such a problem with the sky! I repainted it today, making the green stripe and yellow area by the top of the trees less noticeable. I like what I did, but I am having a big problem with the way the paint is showing brush marks. Before, when it dried I had areas that were shiny and parts that were sunk in and dead looking. I think now the only hope for it will be retouch varnish when the painting is finished. Hopefully that will take care of those shiny/dull spots.

I do have more work to do in places on the painting, and a bit more touching up in the flowers, and a few places I missed in the sky. I hope I can get it finished by Sunday afternoon. I think I am on a roll now.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Splat!     Oil on Linen    10 x 10      $225

Did you know that certain chickens lay green eggs? I didn't until my friend Diane gave me one of her brother's chickens eggs. I was so intrigued I decided to set it up for a small Egg Tempera. I have a glass perfume bottle that has ruffles and ridges and I thought this egg would look great mounted atop this filigreed bottle. Of course just as I was reaching for the camera the whole thing was knocked over and went splat on the floor under the table. Between my cursing and trying to get the cat away, and then getting enough light to take a picture, the egg just slowly started to spread. I never did get a great photo of it, but enough to paint this little painting, which was great fun to do.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Apples in a Red Glass Bowl

Apples in a Red Glass Bowl          14 x 18        Oil          $450

Some of you will recognize that green striped cloth that you might have struggled to paint in one of my classes. I have painted it many times in the past and this time I think I may have gotten it about right. I love painting striped cloth but it is a brute to do, and just sorting out the confusion is something I like about doing art. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Miss Puss and the Flowers series is finished!

Miss Puss and the Snapdragons        Oil on Canvas   
20 X 20              $695

I always feel a twinge of sadness when I finish a series. Oh, sure, I can add some more, but I think I have about exhausted the cat/flower theme as there are 8 paintings in this series. One has sold. I do have ideas for more paintings of Miss Puss, but not with flowers. I have not consulted with her about the next paintings, and don't know for sure if she is OK with posing for some of my upcoming ideas. We shall see.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Problems, problems! "Awe" is still a problem!

Those white blobs in the sky is masking tape which is holding a piece of 5mil acetate. I have tried a new sky idea in the lower right side of the sunset, while the left side shows a revision I made several weeks ago. After living with it for awhile I decided it is much better than what I had before, but I was still not too happy with it. I have spent days photographing the night sky out my window, and these cold clear evenings give me a good idea of what it should look like. I wanted the green stripe, which I do see sometimes, but I have exaggerated it too much and it doesn't look right. Hopefully the moderation of the green, more on the turquoise side, is a bit better than that strong green. Now that I have lived with the acetate revision for a few days, I will be able to actually make the change on the painting, and hope that I can match the blues and not have to paint the whole sky again.