Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, March 2, 2018

"Ode to Oregon" Watercolor

A year ago in January, I attended a Women's Art and Writing Retreat in Oregon and met 10 lovely, interesting women.   It was held in the forest at a retreat center outside Portland.

In addition, I also was able to spend time with my art buddy, Anne Jennings Paris.  I don't get to see her very often -- every few years --- and I really cherish the time we spend together.  We discuss all of our art projects.  And share the work of other artists who have inspired us.  And ideas for how to move forward and keep doing our artwork.  It is hard to balance it with the other parts of our lives.

Recently, I went through my photos from the trip and printed out an image for a notecard to send to her for her birthday.  But, instead decided to make a watercolor.

Anne did a whole project of watercolor notecards during her ex-pat experience in London.  And most recently, she sent me one from Denver after seeing an art exhibit there on Women Impressionism. 
It is so much fun to get a painting in the mail, I guess I wanted to try it myself. 

Somberness Sunlit
Emily Carr 
c. 1937
Also, I had recently discovered Emily Carr's work, so I would also say that I was thinking about her while I was painting this watercolor. She is a Canadian artist, who lived in the Pacific Northwest, and lived from 1871-1945.  A pioneer.  She is considered post-Impressionist.

One of the coolest things I experienced during that trip was seeing a deer swimming in the Clackamas River near Anne's home.

Look for the deer swimming upstream

My trip to Oregon was very inspiring on many levels and what I like about travel is that you can live off the fumes and memories of a trip for a very long time.


Monday, February 26, 2018

"Country Road" Oil Painting

"Country Road"
5x7" oil

These past six weeks have been consumed with family matters so I haven't had much time to paint or be in my studio.  However, I did complete this little one.

I am starting to make thumbnails, which means a small drawing in black and white, in preparation for painting.  The purpose is to make sure that design is good, i.e., the composition, before your begin to paint and add color. 

It is a new step for me (as I usually just draw with paint on the canvas as part of the underpainting) and I can see that it will be to my benefit once I put it into practice.
So, I took the painting I have by a local painter, James Ramsdall, and decided to see if I could redesign it.  I am not sure what he would think of me doing this, but I wanted to try it on a landscape with a sense of depth, and this is what I had.  (I didn't paint over it, I just used it as my reference.)
Here is my drawing and how I moved the tree to foreground instead of the middle ground, and changed it to a tree that I am more likely to see and know. I made the road the subject. And I want you to go down it into the countryside.
When I painted it, I can now see that I got a little crazy with the colors, but it was a good experience, and I intend to make thumbnails and drawings for my paintings going forward.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fund for Women Donation 2018

16x20" Make-up Painting
AVAILABLE to buy to support the Fund for Women

This year I am donating one of my Make-Up Paintings to the Fund for Women 2018 Fundraiser.  They are now in the 10th year and I was/am a charter member.  They give grants to women in our area.  Here the link if you would like to see what they do:  http://www.ffwst.org/history/

Here is the blurb I gave them to go with it:

"Layers" painting is 16 x 20 inches framed, and is a painting of the atmospheric layers we often see around here when the fog is lifting over the hills and the lakes, as happened one morning when I was driving back from Keuka Lake to Corning in the summer a few years ago.  

The painting is done with eye make-up, Bobbi Brown, to be specific.  I have been making "Make-Up" paintings now for about 5 years.  They started one day when I was supposed to throw away my old Bobbi Brown make-up and decided to "play" with it instead.  I apply the warms and cool eye shadows with water using brushes on watercolor paper.  The result is a soft monochromatic painting, somewhat reminiscent of old engravings. (Which doesn't fade, and is archival, in case people are wondering.  I think it is because Bobbi Brown uses pretty much all natural products, like clays, for her eye make-up. )

If you would like to buy this painting to support the Fund for Women, it will be at their June event or you can email me and I will put you in touch with them.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Buddha" Oil Painting


Painted this pear from life, which means I was actually looking at the pear while painting, not from a photo.  And I made it life-size ---a  Comice pear actually has some girth --so it became a he, and then a buddha, because he was not only rotund, but calm, and ...present.


Monday, December 11, 2017

"The Pouter" Oil Painting

"The Pouter"
6x4" Oil
(in 10x8" wood frame)

This is an "Ode to Mary Cassatt" as part of acknowledging some of my favorite painters and artists.  Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was an American painter, who lived in France, and exhibited there. She often painted children, mother and child relationships and garden scenes.  This is her painting which inspired me. 
Girl with a Straw Hat
Mary Cassatt

My painting is based on a photo of our granddaughter, Grace, who did not want leave the playground. She is now 10, but was probably 4 or 5 in the photo.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

"Not a Banana" Oil Painting

"Not a Banana"
6x4" Oil

My subtle form of protest art, supporting the truth in the news.   This is a small oil painting --- 6 inches tall by 4 inches wide in an 8 x 10" wood frame.

It can be acquired without this frame, if preferred.  It's the only one I had for a 6x4 painting.


Monday, December 4, 2017

"Armchair Traveler" Little World Oil Painting

"Armchair Traveler"
Oil (8x10" framed)

This is my 10th Little World.  I continue to enjoy creating these little oils mounted on a collage of paper money and origami.  This time the currency was from a trip I took with a couple of my girlfriends to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia about 12 years ago. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017


11x14 Archival Photograph

We are fortunate to live in an area filled with herons, mostly great blue herons.  Their wing span is about 5 feet.  I watched this one fishing, i.e., waiting stock still, for a long time, until he/she decided to move on.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017


16x20 " Archival Photograph

This is actually a hatch or door which is used for cleaning the tank used for the fermenting of grapes for wine at Hermann J. Weimer winery. 


Monday, November 13, 2017


20x16" Archival Photograph

This is an image from the ancient site of Knowth (c. 3200 B.C.) in Ireland, an hour northwest of Dublin.  We were able to go into a part of the underground tomb here and at nearby Newgrange.  The purpose of the tombs under the very large mounds are not known, but they are fascinating.  The passageways are aligned with the sun, so that they are illuminated briefly during the equinoxes.  (In my image, it was artificial lighting.)


Friday, November 10, 2017


20x16, Misprinted Photograph

This is a misprint of an image I have been working on.  I put the paper in upside down, and the image was printed on the wrong side. 

I liked the way it looked --- a little spooky --- so I baked it in the oven to cure it.

It attracted lint at some stage, and there are roller marks from the printer, but these things add to its accidental-ness, making it all the more attractive to me.

I am also showing you here, how the original image looks.  It is of a passageway in Somerset House in London, where we were visiting the Museum of Water, a special exhibit which was being held down there in the lower regions.

Apparently, in these very large old buildings, there are lower passageways to connect the wings, and the outside ones are called lightwells, so that natural light can reach the underground areas.  You can click here to see the Deadhouse and Lightwells at Somerset house.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

"The Troubles"

"The Troubles"
16x20" Archival Photograph

The frames I ordered arrived yesterday, so I am starting to frame my new work.

This first one is from our trip to Northern Ireland in September, from Belfast, where we learned about the conflict between the unionists (mostly British or Protestant) and the nationalists (mostly Catholics).

There are large-scale murals throughout the city, on busy streets, with people walking past them, and becoming part of the story. 

Here is a link with a summary of the conflict between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, if you have more interest.   http://passage-new.cappelendamm.no/c453153/artikkel/vis.html?tid=498532


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Ode to Durer" Oil Painting

"Ode to Durer"  (Updated 2018)
6x8" Oil

I painted an oil version of the rabbit, and using the wood carving from Oberammergau as my inspiration.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Ode to Durer" Make-up Painting

"Ode to Durer"
4x6" make-up painting in 8x10" frame

This make-up painting is based on my wood carving of the iconic Durer rabbit which I bought back in 1985 in Oberammergau, a small town in Bavaria, Germany known for its wood carvings and passion play.

It has lived on our mantel at home, and now resides in my studio as my muse.  One of his ears has been glued back on, but he is still handsome.

I tried to soften the rabbit up and make him look somewhat natural.  In reality, he is made up of many sharp angles and planes, from the marks of the woodcutter.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Quiet River II with frame

"Quiet River II"
18x24" Oil

Just posting a photo of the Quiet River II in its new frame, for those of you who asked. The painting is 18 x 24 inches. Add 2.5 inches all around for the frame, which is a wood, in a warm silver finish.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Moonlight" LIttle World Oil Painting

Little World No. 9-"Moonlight Row"
1.5" round oil, 8x10" framed

This is my newest little world, entitled "Moonlight."  And it is the last of the original batch of 9 black frames and companion collages of origami/international currency.  Click  here to see all nine.

Well, this "end" created a dilemma for me.  Do I stop making Little Worlds now that I am out of materials?

I have lots more ideas for Little Worlds, and it was making me sad to think about stopping, so I started to track down the materials I would need.

The frame is discontinued.  The wooden rounds are discontinued.  The fiber washers I bought from CBC and painted gold are discontinued.

But I was able to find more international currency, from our travels in the past: Italy, Austria, Singapore, Mexico, Bermuda, China, Taiwan, ---even a note from Cambodia when I went to see Angkor Wat  --- and from Argentina which was from a business trip over 25 years ago.

Finding the money and thinking about all of those experiences made me even more motivated to keep going.

So, I persevered and have now found everything I need but the frame.  And I will keep on working on a source, or evolve to a new frame.

I have two "drafts" of paintings on my easel now.  one for "Armchair Traveler" and another for a "Drive-In" movie theater.

These will be the beginning of the next generation of Little Worlds.


Monday, July 17, 2017

New Book on Colville

Alex Colville is one of the most popular artists in Canada, and there was a retrospective of his work in 2014, shortly after he passed away at age 92.

My art buddy, Anne, got to see the show in person in Canada and showed me her hard copy of the book associated it during my visit with her last January.  I was hooked.

So, I tried to track down a copy for myself.  It wasn't available in the US... until now.

A deluxe paperback edition became available on June 27, 2017.

It is cleverly edited by Andrew Hunter of the National Gallery of Canada and explores how Colville's art can mean so many different things to so many people, including how it impacted himself.

Wes Anderson's movie shot on the left.
Colville's painting on the right.

Much of the commentary is about Colville's influence on pop culture and other artists and writers, including Wes Anderson, the director of Moonrise Kingdom.  

The book is chock-full of his highly personal, quirky, moody pieces.  Animals are frequently in his paintings.

He was a WW2 war artist the book includes some of that work, and how it affected him.
He explores everyday stuff from unusual perspectives.  
The book also includes his highly contrived works, like this one.  

Faces are often turned away or completely obscured, making us wonder what is really going on.

I have also been clipping his paintings and putting them in a Pinterest album if you want to see more of them.  (Click here to see my pinterest page of Alex Colville's work.)


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"Quiet River II" Oil Painting

"Quiet River II"
18x24" Oil

I recently re-worked this painting.  Last year I was using saturated (vivid) colors.  And this year I am working on being more subtle, but still using lots of color.

Last year
I also corrected some of the drawing issues, and prioritized what the painting was really about, i.e., the sky reflections and the quietness of the river as the sun goes down.  I gave up the drama of the sunset.


"Long Lake View" Oil Painting

"Long Lake View"
12 x 24 " Oil
Here is another one of my imaginary landscapes.

I drove everyone around me crazy because I kept changing it.

Here is how it looked after the first session.  Too linear.  Too pastel and flat.  Sort of reminded me a giant caterpillar.
Then I created center for it. To try to break it up.  And add layers of hills as we have around here.

Then I focused on light coming from behind the imaginary bluff and warming the other side.

And that's the mood I settled on.  And then kept working on the size of the bluff, and the light and shadow of the water.

I won't bore you with all the other variations.  But I counted them.  There were 15 separate days of messing with it.

Now I hope it finds a new home, so I don't un-frame it and start to change it again.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

"Imaginary Landscape" Oil Painting (Updated)

"Imaginary Landscape"
8x10 Oil

This is an experiment where I utilized a raw sienna (yellow) ground as a jumping off point, and created an imaginary landscape.  The yellow brush marks of the yellow ground reminded me of fields of grain, which became the foreground.  I created a path leading to distant farm fields in the hills beyond, past a pond on the left.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

"Pear" Oil Painting

6x4" Oil

This is an imaginary pear --- and a small painting --- only 6x4".  I find myself interested painting pears when I get stuck --- as a way to get back into painting again.  This one became a golden pear.