Monday, October 1, 2012

Shall we go? Take flight to my new blog,

Thank you to my friends who have supported my efforts as nifty art girl. Your kindness has encouraged me over the years.

I have started a new blog to record my steps as an oil painter. The canvases are bigger, the paints are gooeyer, the fun is just beginning! Please come along with me on this next phase of my art career. You can click here at my new site and if you like, click on the box that says "follow" in the right hand column.

Hopefully you will stay with me in this transition, I would hate to lose you as an art friend.

With sincerest regard,

Friday, September 14, 2012

Admired Woman

Admired Woman, copyright 2012 Beth Crews Rommel
I have set sail on a new course in my art career.

Margo Geller a longtime resident of the Atlanta area is now assisting me in marketing and business development. I will be making some announcements in the next week on what we have planned.

This painting is a preview of what is to come. This is a large gallery wrapped canvas, 30" x 40" in oil. I have waited to show any part of this piece until the new owner had it on her wall. It was done as a commission and the client wanted a surprise. The only known was it was to illustrate an "Admired Woman". An emotion evoked.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It Takes 21 Days to Build a Habit

Oh the places I've been on this journey.

This journey has been 21 days of building a studio practice. I am on day 18, but feel the need to share where I started and where I have wound up.

I have mentioned my friend Hannah several times in this blog. She is one of six art therapists from around the world teaching a workshop on line. Her class has been about establishing a habit in the studio. It takes 21 days to set a habit in place.

I needed a theme to begin.

I chose organic.

What did I have that was organic?

An onion from the garden.

This is where I began.
My intention was a lovely pen and ink of something from my garden. The onions grew legs and hands and faces and feet.

I was quite upset about this turn of events. Hannah reassured me that this was my unique voice and she could never in a million years put feet on an onion. Sigh.

Not to be swayed I soldiered on.

Reflect upon the work of another artist. I had checked out a book on Whistler.  I enjoyed his Symphony in White No. 1. This is a beautiful portrait.

I tried the Symphony in White No. 1 with a concerto in pastels on a brown paper bag. A feline arrangement.

From there I was to work in a sequence. I could only think of cartoons in their nice neat little boxes. I was stressing once again on how to do this. I jumped in with a square piece of cardboard and my trusty masa paper.

I am not sure where this will lead except through the studio door for more experimentation. I am not prone to experimentation. This workshop has gotten me over some hurdles into new territory. A daily practice is picking up where my daily diaries left off many years ago. As a child they all began, Dear Sarah, to my imaginary friend.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Girls and Horses

Making friends.Mixed Media.18" x 24". copyright 2012.

I just finished this painting of a child trying to make friends with the horses. Some of you may know that the first seventeen years of my life were devoted to horses.

I rode them.
I brushed them.
I showed them.
I loved them so much.

Painting this reminded me of Thunder, Misty, Emma, Noodles, the evil Queenie and the show horses Freddy and Linda. Really they were just over sized dogs. Every bit as loving as a canine companion, except for the teeth baring, run away Queenie.

Each had his or her special characteristics. Misty following us into the tack room and trying to get into the jeep, Thunder dancing as he cantered in place, Emma's love of hoses, Freddy's passion for cokes. Our big dogs.

I miss them and their big hearts. They listened as I talked to them about all sorts of things. Some would doubt this, but those doubters never had these four-legged friends in their lives.

This kept me going when we moved my senior year in high school. We moved away from my childhood friends, but my show horse Linda moved with me. I couldn't wait to see her after school.

As often happens with girls and horses, things change. Girls go to college and get married and have families. Horses are sold to other little girls and pass through hands till, as in Black Beauty, the original little girl doesn't know where her big four-legged friend wound up.

My personal equine friends have long since passed on to the great pasture in the sky. One day I will meet them again on the other side.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Back on Track

When I write my blog I always post a photo of something I have been working on or a little reminder of something I have seen. Looking around the studio I am at a loss as to what I should show you, what illustrates the last month and a half?

This has been a recurring issue which is why I have not written lately.

This morning I read photographer Dianne Poinski's blog post and my gears started turning. Like clockwork Dianne and Hannah Hunter's posts show up in my email.

I have never met Dianne in person, but I feel I know her though her beautiful photographs and reading the ins and outs of her creative days.

I have met Hannah. Her artwork goes straight to my soul. Often that is where we start our weekly phone calls, our artwork.

I can rely on these ladies.

Today Dianne wrote about her quest for simplicity and deliberate conscious living. Thank you Dianne for mentioning your deletion of certain organizations from your inbox.

The emails from groups and companies I don't want in my life are enough to send my brain off the rails. The distraction is waiting for me daily. Gratefully I have never been a fan of web surfing or game playing.
There is too much waiting for me in the studio, something tangible. My often torturous Puritan work ethic requires I have something to show for my hours.

Actually, I have been busy.
  1. Writing and painting George Washington's story in a new way for upper elementary readers.
  2. Looking for a publisher for the aforementioned George.
  3. Adding to my series of flying people.
  4. Moving artwork to Wild Oats and Billy Goats Gallery in Decatur, GA.
  5. Starting a part-time job for a life coach. (Naturalrhythms)
  6. Walking, doing yoga
  7. Meeting new people and developing wonderful friendships.
  8. Practicing portraits. 
  9. Watering the tomatoes.
  10. Feeding the cats.
So I am going to make a promise to get my blog posts back on track. I want to be the blogger you can rely on for pithy phrases and artwork.

Welcome back.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fish Move

Aquarium visit - pencil
Several weeks ago I visited the Georgia Aquarium for the first time. Accompanied by my son who is an artist and engineering student, we took our sketchbooks and pencils to record the morning.

Fish and more fish - pencil        



After trying to capture on paper, fish of every size and color, we came to the conclusion that fish move. I know that is not a surprise to anybody, but it made it a challenge to put their smiling faces on paper.

Piranha on Van Gogh paper - pencil
We saw interesting people. We pet starfish. We pet little sharks and rays. We even went to the theater and saw the dolphin show. It really took me back to the days of visiting Sea World when my children were small and I didn't notice if the fish did move.

Marine Life

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Another Bird...masa paper collage on canvas

I just returned from a walk. I was enjoying the glorious weather and the neighbor's flowers when a magnificent bluebird flew into my sight.

He had as they say, "the sky on his back", he also had the sunset on his breast. The Robin Redbreast was there also. He was big and sturdy and busy. A no nonsense sort of fellow.

This jewel of a bluebird flew in and out so quickly, but left a colorful impression.

Have you had people in your life who seemed to be gone in an instant, but will never be far from your heart?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Family, Love, Life

Several years ago I did a painting that looked like this:
Copyright 2012 ECRommel
Family, Love, Life   24" x 36"

I labored over this autobiographical piece depicting my days as a mom juggling my nest, my love, and my busy as a bee-ness. That is what the painting meant.

A few weeks ago in my illustrator's critique group we were talking about what different images mean. I was reminded of art history classes, where an academician would go on and on about each detail and what the artist meant. They would tell us how experts had figured out great mysteries by examining each brush stroke. I am not breaking the DaVinci Code or revealing a great secret, but sometimes there is no big secret, no deeper meaning.

When this painting was exhibited at the Orlando Museum of Art's First Thursday event many years ago I heard something so interesting.

Four young women, in their early twenties approached my painting.

They looked at it.

They looked at the tag identifying the materials, the title, the price, and the artist's name.

Then the leader of the group held up her arms pointing at the mom in the painting and said,
 "This represents Jesus and his disciples. See those orange things. They are his followers."


Finally her impressed friends responded, "Yes, I see that. You are right."

Hmmm, I guess I didn't see that.

I recounted the story to my husband who responded, "I can see that."

"May you think of Easter each time you see this painting," I say chuckling. For I do not take myself too seriously.  I do, however, take Easter seriously...Love and blessings to all.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Suggest an American Hero, Hannah and Sally did

Several weeks ago I asked on facebook who you would vote for for American Heroes.

Jonas Salk was suggested by art therapist and artist Hannah Hunter. I can understand how working in a hospital setting with very ill children would help form this suggestion.

Another nomination was for Aunt Bea. Oh Sally Weiner you made me laugh. Every time I think of this I chuckle.  Sally is a Chicago artist, photographer, portraitist, and a friend from days past in Houston. Sally used to drive a Gremlin named Morgul. With that bit of information one can understand her nomination.

In this process I see how an individual's experience and personality form opinions and values and heroes.

My all time favorite American Hero is George Washington. I have been researching this founding father.

George Washington ECR copyright 2012

What an amazing and imposing figure he must have cut. At six feet tall he towered over other men. He had an almost mythic ability to survive battles while snipers fired, his horses being shot from under him. The restraint he had in making decisions that affect us today. He listened and weighed advice. He was not impulsive, he was religious, he was humble, he was shy, he refused to run a third time for the presidency, and refused the position of king which so many wanted for him.

My first American Hero.

Who is your American Hero? or as in Sally's nomination of Aunt Bea, heroine.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and Milton the Rooster

Progress is being made on my rooster painting. It has slowed as the details require more time than large swaths of color. The flower in the upper portion of the canvas is taking on its true color of purple as Milton's feathers become thicker and have more luster.

This past weekend I attended the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference here in Atlanta. I learned so many new things and met lots of wonderful people.

Before going to fill my brain and heart with inspiration I put together a display with new postcards and business cards. I found a small suitcase to use as a base. In years past when we lived in Texas I was a faux finish artist. So reverting to that time I applied a crackle finish and several layers of paint to gain a leather look for my valise, isn't that a wonderful word? Valise. Some little risers and fabric covers were inserted and voila! My display...

I listened to presentations by:
The adorable and brilliant author Kirby Larsen. She traveled from Washington state to share advice, memories and a collection of quotes she had found inspiring. Kirby is a Newberry Honor Book winner for Hattie Big Sky.
Senior Editors Greg Ferguson of Egmont USA and
Kristen Daly Rens of Harper Collins/Balzer and Bray
advised us on everything from plot to covers to writing a thriller for young adults.
Mary Kole, an agent with Andrea Brown authors a blog entitled She was sparky and honest and a great dose of reality for all.
The author of the Owly series, Andy Runton, discussed his process of creating picture books and comics. He also included some nuts and bolts words on selling and finding money to print his graphic novels. Andy was the adviser who did my portfolio critique. He was kind and made good suggestions on adding depth to some paintings and illustrating a book for practice.

I have a critique group in the making, my marching orders and wonderful memories. That is all and more than I could have asked for.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Rooster Review

As you may recall here is rooster number one from the first day of class. By the way, our esteemed instructor, Pat Hobaugh has named him Milton. This was a study I did for position and colors.
This was the value study on a larger 16"x 20" canvas.
Here is Mr. Mardi Gras himself, some purple, green and gold. My New Orleans roots must be showing, as anyone from there can tell you,"purple, green and gold go together". Hmm really? Just not in the real world, but who said New Orleans was the real world?
The latest installment of our class still life. Calming the colors somewhat with a more lifelike palette. There will be more to come on Milton and his flowers.

This weekend I am attending a conference of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, here in Atlanta. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to hear words of wisdom from professionals in the field. I have used a lot of ink and paper printing 8" x 10" images of my work to fit in a small leather book. There will be a portfolio review which I am taking advantage of. A little feedback is always helpful and hopefully some direction as to where to turn my efforts next.

Children's books or galleries? As always, stay tuned I like seeing you here. Thank you and have a peaceful and safe week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saturated Local Color

Oil painting class is continuing at the beautiful Callanwolde with patient and talented instructor Pat Hobaugh. Over the last two weeks we painted our still lives as value studies. As you can see my rooster has a sepia toned Depression era look about him.

The following week we applied "local color" in a flat wash over the painting.
If you have followed my blog for a time you know I like color. My rooster has taken on a Wizard of Oz, Somewhere Over the Rainbow appearance with his saturated colors.

The lady who sits next to me, Tariqa Waters, is a wonderful artist. She has chosen a different perspective on the flowers, rooster, and "what-not" sitting on display for our artistic endeavors. Here is her value study:
Now, with local color added.
She has chosen a more muted palette than I.
We were all hesitant to add color, being pretty pleased with our tonal studies. It was a leap to just add color. Later this week we will add details and enhance the light and dark.
Stay tuned for more as our paintings progress.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Poodle Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I have been at a loss for words so have not been writing too much. I have been painting so thought a photo of the latest pet portrait would suffice. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
If you are interested portraits are done by commission. You can contact me at for more information.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creative Bang

2011 ended with a creative bang. This portrait of our neighbor's 14 year old son was a surprise gift. It was so much fun to take up brushes and paint a likeness. There will be more of these in the future with the new series I am in the planning stages of.
Also over the holidays my son and I created a painting for another family member. Each evening one of us would disappear into the studio to create.
We alternated working on the canvas, not allowing the other to see until we were finished for that session.
These are some of the stages we went through before we came to the final product.