Free Publicity, woohoo!

I’m honored to be the featured “spotlight artist” this week for my website platform, Daily Paintworks.  They are on but here is a copy of the interview.  You can also enter to win one of my paintings on the main website page at:  Click the flashing notice at the top of the page with my name.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Renee Robison

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Renee’s painting “Bursting with Color” go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Renee’s DPW Gallery Page:

Just three years ago, I retired after thirty-six years as a retail buyer. My husband and I have dreamed of extensive travel since the day we met. Somehow, I reached the finish line first. With new time on my hands, I decided to finally take that painting class I daydreamed about since I had taken one of those “paint and sip” classes. As I pushed a swath of paint across the canvas for the first time, my heart sang and my soul said, “YES, this is what you want to do.” (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Several years ago, I took a “paint and sip” class.  Okay, I did have a glass of wine before starting but I could feel the first stroke, across the canvas, right down to the tip of my toes.  Of course, that painting wasn’t great, but it was better than I expected.  Three years later, I was retired with a long “to do” list I was determined to tackle.  But a month into my new life, I took my first real art class, learning to paint in oils.  By week two, I had set up an easel at home and was painting everyday, I was hooked.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Confession, I did take an art class in high school and was turned off when my teacher didn’t like my composition.  Instead of using her words to tell me how to correct the painting, she took the pastel from my hands and started doing it herself.  That was more than forty years ago and it is still a vivid memory, I stopped being interested that day.  I can’t say I would have become a professional artist if I had stayed with the class, but I definitely walked away from an opportunity to explore that avenue.  I shouldn’t complain, retail was a very good career for me, with lots of product development as my creative outlet.  I was blessed to retire at fifty-seven and start the next stage of life, who knew??

Bursting with Color
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Renee’s interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

I started with an oil painting class for the first two years.  I have taken two sessions of watercolor class but I have not spent the time to develop that medium. It is great to take with me on our travels.  I am also working in acrylic these days.  I haven’t found a class to learn the medium so I’m watching online videos and experimenting at home.  It’s very different from oil, but, like oil, it’s also forgiving, just keep painting and you can make it better.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m taking a pastel class at Artisan Expo in Santa Fe next month.

Fresh From the Florist
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Before we retired, my husband and I had dreamed of being able to travel for more than a standard two week vacation. He retired a year after me and off we went, ticking off countries from a very long bucket list starting with Italy, Costa Rica, Spain and New Zealand.  Thanks to my handy iPhone and the cloud, I can take thousands of pictures for painting references when I return home.

Last year, with five other friends, we walked across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago.  This is a five hundred mile pilgrimage on foot with no cars, buses or trains; carrying everything you need in a backpack.  It was the most amazing experience of my life and it provided thirty-two days of beautiful inspiration. Over the last year, I have painted a series of fifty paintings called “Inspired by the Camino”.  They were just featured in a gallery exhibit during the month of August.

Explosion of Poppies
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I was not involved in many things outside of work before I retired and had tons of time to paint.  Now, after three years, I’m chairing committees and helping family members.  I have to schedule time to paint just like I schedule meetings and appointments on the calendar.  It’s very easy to get caught up in other things and avoid my everyday practice.  I also must strive to keep my studio (dining room) cleaned and organized, clutter can be a big distraction.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

As mentioned above, scheduling the time.  Scheduled classes are another way to get a solid three hours without interruptions.

Queen Anne’s Lace
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

From extensive photos organized by theme, birds, landscapes, country, etc.  I try to get on a theme or style for at least three to five paintings.  I’m also inspired by surroundings and time of the year.  When we are in Florida, I like to paint beach birds and palm trees.  When it’s fall, I like to paint pumpkin scenes.

How do you keep art “fresh?” What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Classes are a big help, take a class that’s challenges you outside your comfort zone or is different from your regular style.  I especially love “happy accidents” that can lead to something new.  I was recently trying to improve some older frames with gold leaf, that didn’t work at all.  But then I pasted some scraps onto a painting and voila! a new idea was started.

White Poppy Closeup
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

There are so many mediums and styles to explore, that’s a journey for a lifetime.  This past year, I’ve been working on portraits with my teacher, Kim Cypert Russell.  There is so much to learn in this difficult subject matter.  It’s okay when you paint a stranger from a trip that no one knows, but painting a friend or family member adds a lot of pressure to make it look just like them.  She is teaching us about the planes of the face, the proportions of the face and body and the subtle highlights and reflections you never realized were there.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Color, give me lots of bright colors.  🙂

Thanks, Renee!


Inspired by the Camino

Hello, world, I’ve been off the radar and it’s time for a comeback. Last year, my husband and I, along with 5 friends from Dallas, walked the Camino de Santiago. If you don’t know about the Camino, it’s a 500 mile pilgrimage across northern Spain. Yes, I walked 500 miles!  And it was the most amazing experience of my life. It toughened my body but softened my soul.

It also changed my art. I could not wait to begin painting the landscapes, animals and people I saw along the way.  But now, I had slowed my pace, I no longer frantically needed to finish a painting everyday.  I kept finding myself going back to touch up this or that.

I continued to paint these inspirational scenes for over a year  especially, the beautiful poppies that greeted us each morning.  My style began to morph using different techniques.  I focused on adding drama by making the darks darker and strategically add highlights.

After I had completed several paintings on this theme, I realized I had a series in the works.  I applied with these first few to the Goodrich Gallery, they feature a different artist every month.  I was accepted!  And my exhibit is going on right now, you can visit through August 27.  It’s located to the side of First United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas, easiest entrance is on San Jacinto between St Paul and Harwood.

Here’s a preview of my work.  I hope you’ll visit.



If you are interest in reading more about the Camino de Santiago, check out the following blogs: This is written by our friend Keith who walked the Camino with us.  He and his wife have been our traveling companions for many years.  There are also some essays on his blog, including one by me and one from Katja mentioned below   This one is in German nut you can use google translate to read it.  The author is a friend of our Camino buddy, Keith, from the blog above.  She is now a friend to all of us.

Little Canvas, Big Brush

I attended a second class this week and we painted on small canvases with very big brushes.  I did this same exercise in the spring and combined it with the Rose Challenge from the DPW website.  This was my first effort at a rose, here it is:


My style has tended to be focused on single flowers or vegetables.  I’ve been working on compositions with more detail, so for this week’s exercise, I selected a ballerina next to a wooden chair.  I pulled out a size 8 brush, then a 10, but my teacher handed me an 11 filbert.  The point of this exercise is to improve your brush strokes, twisting and turning your brush to get the details.  Here is my effort:IMG_5799

The outcome is good, but I’m still holding my brush tight and close in, especially for this painting.  I should try this again holding the brush further back and working on control.  I’ll keep you posted.

As an update to the studio blog…My husband has mentioned adding on a studio a few times, as my work was taking part of the kitchen, part of the laundry room and half of a spare bedroom.  He mentioned this to my teacher, she said, “do you use your dining room?”  And we don’t, except for our Holiday party and a few meals with family, but usually, we are entertaining outside.  A few weeks later, I dismantled the dining room.  Here are some photos.

IMG_5807 IMG_5809 IMG_5808

I’ve created a place to set up a still life on the cart with a bulletin board to hang a backdrop.  Our dining table is a gate leg style, I folded one end and placed it in the corner as my “office”.  It will be easy to set up again for our next party.  The table in the center is an old folding table that I’m using for framing projects and more.  The metal shelves are organized to hold paintings in different stages:  ready to photograph and varnish, ready to package and packaging supplies, ready to sell and sold plus shipping materials.  I’m enjoying my new space.  I need to work on my lighting, if anyone has suggestions, I would love to learn more.

Do an Exercise, Count Your Strokes

Our class exercise this week was to do a minimal stroke painting.  We selected a photo to paint, projected the least number of strokes we could paint that photo. I can’t say mine came out too great….  here it is:  FullSizeRender

I projected 25 strokes, I did this by counting the dark side, light side, shadows, stems and white spaces.  I didn’t leave myself enough strokes to better define the lights and darks, or add highlights.  5 more strokes would probably have solved these issues.

We did this exercise in the spring, I projected 50 strokes and finished in 52.  The little black streak was one of those “happy” mistakes.  But can you tell those are lemons??


Oh well, the point of this exercise it to learn to load the brush with paint instead of picking at it over and over.  Do you sometimes feel you are taking off as much paint as you put on?  Loading the brush helps this problem.

I needed to redeem myself after the awful apples.  I did this quick and loose version.  Ahhh, better.  IMG_5798

Take a photo and keep on paintin’

As a daily painter, I sometimes want to be “done” with a painting and move on to my next project, be it another canvas or my to do list. I usually take a photo when I think I’m done, often to send to others for their comments. Invariably, when I look at the photo, I see an error that needs correcting, sometimes it’s a shape, the eyes of an animal are not at the right angle or I missed a shadow. I’m trying to make a habit of taking the photo when I think I’m done, studying the photo and making corrections. I find I’m taking 4-6 photos before I feel I’ve made the real corrections. At this point, I have to learn to Stop! or I will just pester the painting beyond what is really needed. Here are some examples of photos and corrections from a painting I completed last week.

Photo 1, Pumpkin Bullseye, #1 The first thing I see is a misshapen pumpkin on the bottom right, while the photo is perfectly round. I also felt the pumpkin was “streaky”, the highlights weren’t really highlights, but lighter color painted in. The stem in the photo had multiple colors, this appeared to be only a combo of 2 colors with a couple of highlights.
Photos 2-4

You can see where I began to add depth to the darks and lights with each review.  In the end, the bottom right leaf has the most extreme darks to lights.  In photo 2, the left looks flat but in photo 4, you can see were the edges are lifting and lowering.  This has taken me a lot of practice and I still need to work on this technique.

Here is the next painting and review photos I completed.  Can you tell the changes I made?   Martha’s Bell, photos 1-4:


What else would you correct?

In Honor of National Dog Day

I”m totally a cat person, I’ve never owned a dog, nor have my parents or brother.  But I found a cute face on a friend’s Facebook page, and I just had to paint it.  Here is the result:

IMG_4029He’s available on auction at:

The next day I painted the same dog from the backside in a larger scene.  IMG_4031  My Mother showed it to a friend ta day later and it sold!!

I have painted 2 more Dog Selfies (see below), both are from Rescue Shelter photos posted by a friend.  I’ve promised to donate some of the proceeds to the shelter if they sell.  If you are interested in either of these paintings, comment below or email me at:

6x6 oil on gesso board
6×6 oil on gesso board
5x7 on canvas panel
5×7 on canvas panel

I’ve had a couple of commission requests from friends, I hope to do these in the next week.  We’ll see how they go, I’m feeling lots of pressure to please the clients.  If it goes well, I will open up to more pet commissions.

Have a great weekend, Renee