Winners of the Elizabeth Floyd Studio Giveaway...

20130103 Studio-vignette-2 Thank you all so much for being a part of the new Elizabeth Floyd Studio giveaway. I am so happy to announce that I will be sending the landscape painting to Aralia of Magdahlia Studios.

Teressa Sliger won the online class… The note cards are on there way to Catherine Carney, Jen Raj, and Nora B…and those receiving a book are Suzanne Lago Arthur, Sharon Badgerow, and Dana Aldis.

Please wait to hear from me… I will be emailing later in the day for your postal addresses… and thank you to everyone who left such generous messages… I have been so touched by your response…

Thank you for playing… and have a wonderful weekend, Liz

Fruits of Joy

grapefruit-marmalade-1 It all started with the receiving of a box grapefruit with one lemon as a gift... It was a surprise... full of the sense of friendship and goodwill that pervades the beginning of a new year. Then a fellow blogger, Katy Elliott, tweeted about the Grapefruit and Meyer Lemon Marmalade she had previously made, and I knew this was how the generous gift would be used.


We did this on a Saturday afternoon, I say we, because Naomi was by my side the whole time helping… she has figured out how to push the kitchen table chairs around to get up to the counters… a whole new world has opened up to her. Now that she is 18-months old, I am constantly being surprised by all she accomplishes independently when she sets her mind on something.


And while the jars were in the water bath, Naomi and I made a little snack of the extra marmalade… it was a wonderful afternoon in the kitchen.

Adapted from June Taylor via Katy Elliott

Grapefruit and Meyer Lemon Marmalade 5 pounds grapefruit, rinsed (I used 7 grapefruits) 5 Meyer lemons or small regular lemons, rinsed (I used Meyer lemons and one homegrown lemon) 1/2 cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 additional lemons) 2 1/2 pounds sugar (equals ±5 cups) 3/4 inch grated fresh ginger (I used a microplaner)

Remove the grapefruit skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut the peel into 1/8-inch slivers; stop when you have 3/4 cup. Discard the rest. Slice off the ends of the grapefruit and the remaining grapefruit peel and pith. (I cut in half and cut off all the peel, then used a knife to cut along the membrane and the segments practically fell out) Remove grapefruit segments, reserving membrane. Stop when you have 5 cups of segments.

Cut the ends off the Meyer lemons, deep enough so you can see the flesh. Leaving the peel on, remove the segments of lemon and reserve the membrane. Cut the segments crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. (I cut the peel off similar to how I did it with the grapefruit as I am sensitive to bitter flavors and was afraid of having too much pith from the rind in my marmalade)Put membranes from the grapefruit and Meyer lemons in a jelly bag (I had to look this up. Means: wrap membranes in cheesecloth) and tie closed.

In a wide and deep pot, combine the grapefruit segments, grapefruit peel, lemon pieces and jelly bag. Add lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups water. Simmer until the grapefruit peel is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

Working over a bowl in your sink, squeeze the liquid from the jelly bag; keep squeezing and wringing it out until you extract 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pectin. Add pectin, grated fresh ginger and sugar to the pot. Place over high heat and boil, stirring now and then, until marmalade is between 222 and 225 degrees and passes the plate test. (Spoon a little onto a plate and put in the fridge for 3 minutes. If it thickens like jam, it is done.)

(I used a canner and did a boiling water bath, here is a helpful site that breaks it down in easy to understand steps.) (instructions for using the oven to sterilize your jars) Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Meanwhile, put 6 sterilized 8-ounce canning jars and lids on a baking sheet and place in the oven. When jam is done, remove jars from the oven. Ladle jam into the jars, filling them as high as possible. Wipe the rims. Fasten the lid tightly. Let cool. If you don’t get a vacuum seal, refrigerate the jam. Makes 6 8-ounce jars of marmalade.


Bit of homemade goodness to savor at home and to give as gifts...

Have a wonderful weekend, Liz

P.S. The giveaway continues, so please keep commenting on any post you like… they will all be entered… subscribe to the blog and subscribe to my monthly newsletter… and share and tweet as much as you want… I will announce the winners next week Friday {2/8/2013}. If you would like to include or update your blog roll with my new URL it is http://www.elizabethfloyd.com

Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed

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Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed

If I want to read up on any topic relating to painting from life, this is my go-to book.

This book is the only one I know of that spends so much time on analyzing all the different ways to handle paint, and how to think about all the nuances required to create a representational painting while also keeping your work painterly.

If you want to learn about brush strokes, edge quality, and paint application, be sure to read Chapter VI, Elementary Tone Exercises, and Chapter IX, Painting from the Life.

This book also has a great chapter focusing on composition, Chapter X, Tone and Color Design.

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Oil Painting Techniques and Materials


Posy of Flowers {a new small floral painting}

Posy of flowers in a spice jar

Posy of Flowers in a Spice Jar

{8" x 6" (20.3 x 15.2 cm)) – oil on linen panel}
Framed painting: $275.00 + S&H

I captured this composition and was enamored by the way each flower had its own distinct form and how the tangle of stems interplayed with the reflections on the glass jar. I love the strong vertical highlights, how the color shifts from a warm white to a cool white all within the same area of white, providing a sense of the outside beyond.

If you get a chance today, stop and observe how the light from a nearby window is reflected in your water glass, see how the light sparkles and plays on the hard surface. Painting is all about the surprise and wonder seen in such moments, captured and conveyed so these instances of insight are not lost but shared and treasured.

Purple Irises {a new daily painting}



{8" x 6" (20.3 x 15.2 cm)) – oil on linen panel}
Unframed painting: $150.00 starting bid + S&H

This painting was completed on a beautiful sunny afternoon, at the end of the day when the light was fading but the golden sheen was still present. I like how the dark purple petals are almost a blue-black in places.


And I want to give a shout out to Lenny Campello, who I met this weekend at the Meet the Artist's Night at Artomatic, and for the nice review of my still-life paintings on display {scroll down to the heading Best Flower Art} and other artists displaying in this year's Artomatic.

Back online, just experiencing technical difficulties...

studio shelves in May 2012
{Shelves in the studio with this year's Mother's Day cards from Naomi and S.}


I just wanted to pop in and say hello, and this week's Bountiful Observation painting will be posted later today. Please stay tuned!

{here is my computer saga if you are interested}

Last week was a hard week because my computer totally imploded over the holiday weekend, ie. everything on the hard drive was lost!

Then it took longer than expected to have the computer delivered, so I lost a few days waiting for it to arrive. Most of my files have been able to be recovered because I had been using carbonite to back up my computer, though I have since learned that this sortof covers you but it is not perfect... Because carbonite had a glitch in the restore process and so only a portion of my files made it onto the new computer. My files are now a REAL mess and windows 7 seems to be locking some of my files and I have yet to figure out why as administer to my computer I still do not have the right to unlock them...

Today, marks the fourth day of trying to get my life back into this new computer. I have hit several road bumps, and today I am really feeling them, everything that was routine on my old computer is not on this new one.

I am looking forward to the end of this phase.

See you soon,


Plein Air Painting: Potomac River Series at River Farm


20111006 Potomac River Series 26
Potomac River Series XXVI - River Farm
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Today was a beautiful day! Which meant that Ann, Naomi, and I went out to do a bit of painting, this time we met at River Farm along the Potomac River.

I am having to become a "quick draw" artist because even though I was out there for almost two hours I really only got about 45 minutes total to dedicate towards painting, my "little helper" kept needing attention.

{our setup}

For this painting I blocked in the drawing using perm. alizerin crimson, which is a great foil for all the greens that will end up being in the painting. To create a sense of atmospheric depth I laid in a deep red/purple underpainting for the background trees.

{Naomi all cozy}

{all packed up to head home}

Naomi's stroller also doubles as a pack horse, where I sling some of my plein air supplies on it, so I do not have to physically lug much around, which works out well...

First Plein Air Expedition...


{my painting setup and Naomi in the background}

Today was our first plein air painting trip, that is Naomi was in attendance. We met up with a friend for an afternoon by the Potomac River.

The weather turned out great, nice temperature and breeze, and no bugs!

20110929 Potomac River Series 25 {Potomac River Series XXV - approx. 7" x 5" (17.8 x 12.7 cm) - Oil on Gessoed Paper}

And while out I did manage to grab an opportunity to paint! Initially it did not seem like it would work out, I had set up my easel and paint, when Naomi decided she was awake and wanted attention. She eventually settled down and I was able to make the most of what time we had left before needing to leave to beat the rush hour traffic.

Plein Air Painting: Potomac River Series



Time is flying by and I wanted to share with you the plein air studies completed last week. So far the comfort level of painting outside has been increasing and I am continuing to find ways to experiment and explore...

20110622 Potomac River Series 15
Potomac River Series XV
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm)) – oil on gessoed paper}

With this study my goal was to zero in on an area of the shoreline, working on defining the middle ground with the most information while minimizing the detail provided in the forground and background, creating a sense of distance using value and detail.

20110624 Potomac River Series 16
Potomac River Series XVI
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

It got a bit enamored with the two trees in the foreground, spending time on depicting the various vines and leaves that were growing on them.

20110625 Potomac River Series 17
Potomac River Series XVII
{approx. 8" x 12" (20.3 x 30.4 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

This study is double the area of all the previous studies, I was curious to work on this new size.

The sky was particularly beautiful when we got to the river's edge.

20110625 Potomac River Series 18
Potomac River Series XVIII
{approx. 8" x 12" (20.3 x 30.4 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Later in the morning the dazzling cloud formations and roses had left the sky, however this provided an opportunity to work on painting tree shapes and the reflections in the water.

Plein Air Painting: Potomac River Series



Here are the paintings created during the third week of June.

20110614 Potomac River Series 09
Potomac River Series IX
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Even when being by the river different scenes will capture my attention, and the way the leaves glowed yellow in the morning sun was something I wanted to try to capture.

20110617 Potomac River Series 10
Potomac River Series X
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

We have had a lot of overcast and rainy days lately and a lot of my focus this week was on trying to capture the fleeting impressions of the sky. In Carlson's
book on landscape painting he encourages you to work from memory, and I think trying to paint the sky as the clouds are constantly changing is pretty close to painting from memory because you have to work from an impression that changes immediately, so if you want to keep the initial composition of how the clouds were, you are engaging your memory.

20110617 Potomca River Series 11
Potomac River Series XI
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Another sky study, with the clouds getting more threatening...

20110618 Potomac River Series 12
Potomac River Series XII
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

After the past few attempts of painting trees I decided to check out a few other landscape artists I admire and see how they block-in and paint trees, this study was incorporating a technique I read about in Kevin Macpherson's
book on page 58.

20110618 Potomac River Series 13
Potomac River Series XIII
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Another sky/cloud study.

20110618 Potomac River Series 14
Potomac River Series XIV
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Another sky/cloud study, sometimes I deliberately know what I am going after and try to achieve it, however with these two studies, I just wanted to experiment with shapes and edges.


I thought you may be interested in seeing my setup when working outside at the picnic tables that are in the park areas along the Potomac.

This is the simple setup where I head out only with my cigar box pochade and other equipment, like brushes, turp jar, and paper towels. The square piece of card board has been shellaced so it can handle multiple applications of tape that attaches the sheets of gessoed watercolor paper.

Setup with Cigar Box Pochade

Working in Plein Air: Potomac River Series



Here are the plein air studies completed from last week. My goal is to get out and paint 3-4 times a week, last week I was able to go out three times, on Sunday I was out for an extended time so two studies were completed.

I also switched over to using gessoed watercolor paper as my painting surface, it is an easy surface to paint on because the cold pressed watercolor paper has a bit of a texture and the gesso provides a level of tooth for the paint to grab onto. Another benefit is that because I gessoed several sheets of paper, I feel free to explore and experiment with out concern about wasting a canvas panel or the need to wipe down the painting when it does not work out. With the gessoed paper I will have a timeline that records progress.

20110606 Potomac River Series 05
Potomac River Series V
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

With this study I was working on the gradation of the sky along with the atmospheric graying of the distant trees and shore.

20110608 Potomac River Series 06
Potomac River Series VI
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

When working in plein air I often block in my drawing using aliz. crimson, so sometimes the thinned red will peep through.

A few days before I headed out to paint the last two studies of the week I spent an afternoon reading through Marc Hanson's blog Painting My Way Through Life. Back in April 2009 Marc Hanson set a personal goal of completing four paintings a day en plein air for the entire month, that is for 30 straight days, he called it a "painting marathon".

I visited every blog post of that month and read about his experiences, it was so inspiring... I guess in a way I am trying to do something similar but a lot more open ended.

20110612 Potomac River Series 07
Potomac River Series VII
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Before beginning this study I had set a goal of trying to complete each within an hour, and I wanted to make sure my composition was more of a vignette, giving a specific impression of a scene that captured my attention.

I did not complete this in my time limit, however the play with fore, middle, and back ground was a good exercise.

20110612 Potomac River Series 08
Potomac River Series VII
{approx. 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – oil on gessoed paper}

Learning to capture the big shapes and values is important to me, however I also need to spend time on developing the abilty to paint the smaller details like, rocks and such. So this study focused on the rocky edge of the Potomac.

I am was out painting this morning, the weather has returned to the normal temperatures DC is supposed to have during this time of year. It was a beautiful morning.

Thanks for stopping by, Liz

Working in Plein Air: Potomac River Series



Now that I am in the home stretch of the pregnancy and my desire to keep painting until the very end has really kicked into over drive, I began a new project on the 1st of June. They say nesting starts to kick in around this time, however I have found that drive to paint is more predominant...

The project consists of simple plein air sketches along the Potomac river south of Old Town Alexandria. I live about a mile from the river's edge so for several mornings a week I have been heading out around sunrise to capture the moment. The goal is to get more comfortable with painting en plein air with a limited palette of aliz. crimson, cad. yellow pale, winsor green, ultramarine blue, and titanium white. Each painting is completed as quickly as possible {1/2 hr to 2 hrs} and most often has a specific paint handling/technique that I am trying to work through and get more adept at.

Here are the paintings from the first week of June:

20110601 Potomac River Series I
Potomac River I
{6" x 8" (15.2 x 20.3 cm) – oil on canvas panel}

On the first day I was so motivated that I was up and in the car before sunrise, so by the time I got to the river's edge the sun had just begun to climb into the sky...

20110601 Potomac River Series II
Potomac River II
{6" x 8" (15.2 x 20.3 cm) – oil on canvas panel}

With this painting the sun had already moved up pretty high into the sky and I wanted to focus on the gradiation of the sky and the soft edges of the trees on the other side of the river bank.

20110602 Potomac River Series III
Potomac River III
{6" x 8" (15.2 x 20.3 cm) – oil on canvas panel}

This composition is a continuation on exploring soft edges and atmospheric haze while beginning to incorporate some foreground features.

20110605 Potomac River Series IV
Potomac River IV
{6" x 8" (15.2 x 20.3 cm) – oil on canvas panel}

On this morning the sky was threatening to open up on me at any moment, a few times I had several drops of water fall down upon me and the painting. Being a hazy, humid morning grays and atmospheric perspective became the main focus of this study.

Three Tulips {a new small painting}


20110117 red and yellow tulips
Three Tulips
{8" x 6" (20.3 x 15.2 cm) – oil on linen panel}

Here is another small painting completed in January. I am loving how tulips continue to grow after you get them.

Also I wanted to share this really cool link that a friend recently sent me, the art project powered by Google. There are so many cool links and the opportunity to zoom into some pretty amazing paintings. So if you are not near a museum that offers a copyist program you could easily copy from these high resolution images!

Three Tulips {a new painting}

20110112 tulips 6x6
Three Tulips - SOLD
{6" x6" (15.2 x 15.2 cm) – oil on canvas panel}

The new year has been full of inspiration. Every time I am at the grocery store I am tempted to purchase some flowers and then come home and paint them. Maybe it is because I am so looking forward to the Spring and Summer, planting new seeds and seeing them grow...

This year I will post more small paintings along side larger format pieces, thus increasing the number of paintings created and embodying one of the year's goals, to practice more!

Have a wonderful day, Liz

PS. We are thawing out from an ice storm from last night

Tulips in a Jar {a new painting}

20110109 tulips 6x5
Tulips in a Jar - SOLD
{6" x 5" (15.2 x 12.7 cm) – oil on linen panel}
Sometimes the days get away from me... because this painting was completed last weekend.

When I was working on this painting it was my goal to capture the difference in surface textures, the soft delicate petals versus the hard reflective angles of the glass jar.

Two Green Pears {a new still life}

20100315 peggys hutch

On Peggy’s Hutch – 8" x 10" (20.3 x 25 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel


This past weekend was spent in Monterey, VA at my friend Peggy’s house. We were four artists all inspired to spend the time exploring, chatting, playing cards and painting. It was a magnificent time and I feel very fortunate to have been included.

Over the weekend I met for the first time the very talented Tricia Ratliff. She is another career changer that has recently decided to pursue art full time. It was so special to meet in person someone so full of energy and with such dedication to her art career, that I kinda feel my head spinning thinking of all the possibilities she has inspired in me… Tricia is also an art instructor and disseminator of ideas through her blogs! Here is her one on art and ideas, and this one is of her paintings.

Have a wonderful evening, ours looks to be clear and warm. Spring is definitely in the air!


PS. Thank you for all the kind comments about yesterday’s post! It means a lot to me to receive your support.