Big Al's
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painting of an art palette

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My Art Styles

pet portrait paintings

Pet Portraits

I usually paint in a loose impressionistic style, but when it comes to animals, my approach changes completely and becomes more detailed, more quirky and folky. I paint animals as I know them to be - humorous, whimsical, tender, and very dear to my heart. These are the characteristics I strive to capture when I paint a pet's portrait.

Ideally, I like to meet the animals I'm going to be painting and take a little time to intereact with them to get a sense of their personality. If this isn't possible, then I'll encourage the owner to talk awhile and tell me some stories about their pet. I also ask my clients to think of three philosophical life lessons they've learned from their pet. Animals are patient teachers - all we need to do is sit quietly and observe them.

When the painting is finished, I add the pet's portrait, story, lessons and photo to my web site. I also make a greeting card of the painting, with the three lessons printed on the back. All of these extras, plus a package of cards featuring your pet's portrait, are included in the price of the painting.


photo of wine foils

Wine Foils

Wine foils inspire me. I hunt for them with the same passion that others search for fine silver or porcelain. I love their unique designs and colors and the way they reflect the light. I also love their texture and the ease with which they can be sculpted figurally. The ideas for incorporating these throw-away jewels into art are limitless.

When I remove a foil from a bottle neck, I often instinctively know what it's going to become in its next incarnation. A champagne foil makes a dynamic stage curtain. The iridescent bronze and gold foils mimic a stringed instrument's patina under stage lights, the black foils work nicely for tuxedos and music stands, and the wire cages encircling champagne corks would make perfect seats for the musicians. Oh, yeah! All the ingredients for a string quartet!

My friends all know to save their wine foils for me, and some of the local restaurants allow me access to their glass recyclables. Being a natural born scavenger, I'm just in heaven while I'm rummaging through their bottle stashes and pulling off all those foils. The only downside to working in this medium is that the finished artwork is difficult to photograph because the metals are very reflective, and I don't have a lightbox. Ironically, this is the same quality that gives wine foil art such vibrancy when seen 'in the flesh.'

I'm putting out a request to all wine and champagne aficionados - please save your foils for me! I also use the little top circles that are usually discarded after the foil has been cut. (Please, no plastic foils - I can't work with them.) When you've accumulated a bunch of these little treasures, email me for address swaps, and I'll gladly reimburse your postage costs. Your donations are much appreciated!


painting of lilies by a waterfall

Paintings of Maui

My husband and I spend a lot of time on Maui, and we consider the island our second home. We're lucky to have friends in Kihei who are like family. Their door is always open to us, and our time with them is never long enough. I love the area where we live in northern California, but my heart really belongs to Hawaii.

My paintings of Maui are done quickly and loosely without any real conscious thought or plan, and are usually painted using only one brush. To me, they are like visual haikus, each one reflecting a fleeting moment during which I experienced the perfect combination of light, color, motion, sound and smell. Whether it's a day, a week, several months or even a year before I transfer the image to canvas, the passage of time never dulls the intensity of my initial impression. I prefer to paint on paper, because the texture of canvas slows down the flow of my brush strokes.

I don't paint on location - it's too difficult to focus on just one vignette when everything around me is beautiful. For these paintings, I never make preliminary sketches, I don't work from photographs, and once I've started a painting, I never make changes to it. These impressions hit the canvas spontaneously, exactly as I remember them.


detail from a synesthesia painting

Synesthesia Paintings

Painting the colors I see when I listen to music is a new endeavor for me, and I'm loving it. If you haven't already read the text on my Synesthesia Gallery page, please take a few moments to check it out and learn what this is all about. I will be adding more music paintings soon.