Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ready To Go

oil on gessobord 6" x 6"

I took some reference pictures of a bike at a
garage sale this summer and cropped this one
down for this composition.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pink Dahlia

6 x 6 oil on gessobord

I took a photo of this dahlia blossom
at the local flower nursey on a sunny
day. Thought about buying one, but I have
little room in my flower beds for a
big plant like this one. May have to
replace something someday!

Life Is Good

5 x 7 oil on gessobord

Loved the reflections on this one.
A calm day with little wind on a
beautiful day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Passion

I was recently encouraged by the folks at Patience Brewster ornaments and cards to write about my passion for art and painting. I'm sure I acquired my love for art through my artistic ancestors. My great grandmother was Sophie Marie Mitchell, who was known in the Napa Valley area for her watercolor paintings of the local wildflowers, which are now part of the Napa Valley Museum. I did not know of her paintings until years after I had started painting in watercolor. One inspiration that stands out in my mind is seeing the John Singer Sargent exibition at the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. back in 1999 and all the other pieces of art by Rembrant, Homer, Monet, Eakins, ect. It was so beautiful!

watercolor by Sophie Marie Mitchell, 1890's.

I was also inspired by my Aunt Joanne Thompson, who was the featured artist for the Walter Foster art booklet, "It's Fun to Sketch with Pencil and Crayon, Joanne Thompson, by Walter Foster"

I practiced many of her drawings from this book to improve my own portrait drawing, which was the beginning of my love of the portrait. I would strongly suggest that drawing and sketching is an excellent habit to develope if you want to improve your painting skills in a short amount of time. Other talented family members were my grandfather, who was an architect in the San Fransico area and an uncle who was a commerical artist who designed the girl watcher sunglasses.

As an artist, I'm my own worst critic and I probably wouldn't be posting very many photos of my paintings, but this blog is my painting journal to see my own improvement as I strive to reach my goals. Of course it is nice to get imput from others artists. My goal is to gain confidence and loosen-up in my style as in the artists that I admire. Some days I think my brain is wired just to do realistic work. I would also love to paint work that has a "timeless" quality where it would be enjoyable to a buyer over a long period of time. Classic art in museums have this quality to them and it is loved by many generations. Someday, I may paint that masterpiece!

As a child I was always drawing, coloring with crayons, and doing "oil paintings by numbers". When I was about 11 or 12 years old I painted this painting of my horse and my mother and father were very impressed and encouraged me to continue painting. It is uplifting to get feedback from other famous artists when you post a painting on social media and they take their time to respond and compliment your work. It gives you hope and the desire to carry on. I also have shown my watercolor paintings in the Montana Watercolor Society's show and received some awards and nice compliments by the judges.

The artists that I admire and study their techniques are:


Joseph Zbukvic
Shirley Trevena
Liu Yi
Ted Nuttall
Jeannie McGuire

Oil painters:

Mike Wise
Richard Schmid
Colley Whisson
Tibor Nagy

I have many, many more artists that I follow and admire so it would be hard to list them all.

My other interests, hobbies and bussinesses are my Etsy Shop for Susan Liles where I do typography subway signs for customers' family memory boards.

This keeps me very busy around the holidays. I also love to get outside and work in the yard and garden.

My 10' trailing nasturtiums that have climbed my rhododendron and bushes!

I also love to travel and explore our area in which we live and snoop around in vintage shops and find treasures for the house.

During one of our trips I found the house my parents rented when I was first born. It is very old now and has changed from the description my Mother gave me.

Old rental in Drain, Oregon

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, visit my Etsy shop, or my website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Daughter's New Interior Website

New fixture in her son's bedroom.

Not all my children have a talent for painting, but they sure
are talented in other ways besides a paintbrush. My daughter,
Aundra Skinner, has started her own business in home
interior and helps others beautify a room or the whole
house. She is now well known in here area for her interior
style and is requested to work on many projects. I love it
when she comes to visit and switches around my decor in the
house or we comb vintage and secondhand shops together
looking for treasures. Check out her website:

Aundra Skinner Interiors

The Peas Have It

6x6 oil on gessobord

A painting I did as the season for cherries was here this
summer. I love cherries! One of my favorite fruits to eat.
I miss Montana's Flathead cherries, they are the BEST!
The cherries grown here in Washington state are just ok.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Worn Out

5 x 7 oil on gessobord

We have plenty of subjects like this dry docked
boat here where I live. May do one like this on
a bigger canvas someday.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Pink Glove

8 x 10 oil on gessobord

I had fun doing this one of a mannequin
in a window of a store. I painted gold
acrylic over the gessobord to start. I
used a painting knife on the background
and some finger smears to soften a few
edges. She looks confident in her stance.

Monday, July 20, 2015


oil on gesso hardboard 6 x 6

Always enjoy painting a water lily.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fishing- Reflection Challenge

oil on gessobord 5 x 7

I wanted to do the Daily Paintworks challenge,
but had other paintings I was in the middle
of painting so this one is a little later to
the posting.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

On Top Of It

oil on gesso hard board 6 x 6

Still doing goats around the theme of
"trouble makers". Mischievous and full
of energy! Having fun painting these
little guys.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


oil on gesso hard board 6 x 6

I didn't feel I could paint all those
spokes of the wheel without running
out of patience. I had to mark the
points of the spokes on the wheel
frame as I painted the blue inside
the wheel. I was glad it turned out
and I didn't give up and scrap all
the paint off the canvas.


Monday, July 6, 2015

More Trouble

oil on gesso hard board 6 x 6

I enjoyed painting this subject of goats
and how the light laid across them. I
painted a gold acrylic on top of the
gesso and the blue is manganese blue,
which is a good compliment to the yellow

Buy with PayPal

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Barn Door

oil on gesso hard board 6 x 6

Tried a new subject, old barn with fun
shadows. I have painted the past week
only to end up scraping the canvas
clean of wet paint to try again or
just give up on a particular subject.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Oil on gesso board 4 x 4

I thought I'd try a very small painting
and decided a small bird would be a good
subject matter. I think I'll stay more
with the canvas sizes larger than this

Monday, May 4, 2015

Windows Rolled Down

Oil on gesso board 5" x 7"

Thought I had taken on too hard of a subject
with this one...a lot of detail. I stuck with
it and finished it in about 4 hours.
This subject reminded me of the song by
Amos Lee, "Windows Rolled Down" and driving
around in a vintage car in the summer months
with the car windows down.

Monday, April 27, 2015

It Gets My Goat

6" x 6" oil on gesso board

Loved the reference photo of this goat
standing in the sunshine with her floppy
white ears. Goats are so playful but can
be so mischieveous. I understand they can
really cause havac if you don't have the
right fencing to keep them contained.
Had fun painting this portrait.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Container Ship

8" x 10" oil on gesso board

We usually have one or two container ships
that come into the port each week for
repairs, fuel, or supplies. I liked the
reflections off the water of the red color
of the ship in the port this day which was
very calm.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Port Angeles

8" x 10" oil on gessoboard

Painted the city of Port Angeles from Ediz Hook
looking south. A friend suggested I paint Port
Angeles, this is what I think of when I think of
my town I live in. I will try to do others in the
coming months as we get more sunshine. On
this day there was two container ships in the
port. The composition on this one is not the
greatest, but I learned more on painting in oil,
just suggest details in the distance...little
dots of paint will suggest a house or group of
buildings. A very gray but calm day, with no
rain or marine layer.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Vintage Tricycle

6" x 6" oil on gessoboard

I came across this great little vintage tricycle
on Etsy Status Dog and loved the photo of it. I asked
permission to paint it for my "practice" in painting.
I learned the importance of a good background to enhance
the subject matter. Still trying not to add every little
detail in a painting. My brain is wired for detail
so it is harder for me to do the basics, so I need
to put a time limit on my painting time.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Little Wren

5" x 7" oil on canvas

My third successful painting...some have been mediocre
and so I scraped off the paint before it dried and
tried a different subject...cute little bird and fun
subject to paint. Enjoying painting with payne's gray
and how adding various blues affect the value. Learned
just how much faster burnt sienna and "browns" dry,
so much faster than the other colors. I did
this painting in about 3 hours so I didn't have
to finish it the next day and oil in on half
dry paint.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Red Tricycle

6" x 6" oil on gesso board

A painting I did of a vintage tricycle
I saw in a second hand store. I loved
the red and white color combination and
the memories it brought back of growing
up in this time period when they were
used by my generation.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Just Practice

This is my first attempt to paint every day. My
struggle to get in the mood to paint has taken a
different direction. I am no longer stressing about
painting that perfect painting anymore and am taking
the next 6-8 months to "just practice" the techniques
in the medium of oil. Trying to paint every day and
use smaller canvases or gessoed hardboards. Hope to
see improvement in the next few months.