December 22, 2012

HH4 Challenge #3 - 'Double Vision'

This Challenge....  was quite a challenge. To all of us. Lydia provided us with a great reference photo with lots of information in there. That's where the painting process starts. How much to include, what information to loose, where to put you focus.

You can see the results of this creative process below. I ended up with 'Double Vision' ... ;-)

'Double Vision'
Oil, 7'' x 5''

And my HH4 friend's paintings:

  'Kindle or Nook?'

 'Reading Room'

December 14, 2012

Hilton Head 2012 - here come the mugs again!

The mug shots produced and painted from the original Hilton Head Gang / Class of 2011 were so much fun, such a good exercise and such a great way to keep motivated and in contact with each other that OF COURSE the class of 2012 decided to go ahead and get the challenge going again.

Although I love the challenge, I did't get started right away and now I'm already some mugs behind. Oh well.... Here's my first 'Hilton Head Caper' 2012:

Kim "The Scoop" Rosser - MS022
Oil, 4'' x 4''

Kim "The Scoop" Rosser is not only a great painter, she and her husband are running the infamous Gelati Celesti in Richmond, Va. 
Isn't that just a dreamy combination? Painting and homemade gelato....

December 8, 2012

HH4 Challenge #2 - 'Bright and Early'

I've been busy since the last HH4 Challenge - though not really painting and posting. So it's good to have the challenge to keep my on a schedule.

This month's challenge was set by Maria Bennett Hock and is another reference from Hilton Head Island. We encountered this lady and her dog on one of our strolls on the beach.  I honestly think it might have been at sunset rather than in the morning, but the finished painting has this early morning feeling to me. It's going to be a wonderful day, but it's still rather fresh and you're happy to have a warm jacket with you.
I miss the beach....

All four of us - the Hilton Head Four - enjoyed painting from the reference, and the resulting pieces show our individual styles and takes on the picture. But we also agreed that we're looking forward painting the next reference - it will NOT be a white dog!

So here's my rendition - 'Bright and Early'.

'Bright and Early'
Oil, 8'' x 8''

And my HH4 friend's paintings - take a look at the artist's blogs by clicking on their names. 


 'The Look'

November 24, 2012

The first ever HH4 Challenge: 'Snoopy Guys'

HH4 Challenge? - Let me explain...

Last month I was lucky enough to attend Karin Jurick's workshop on Hilton Head Island - for the second time. Apart from painting, the great beach and wonderful Beach House, I got to spend the week with three amazing artist and dear friends. We painted, strolled along the beach, took hundreds of photos (each, every day) and sat together in the evening talking about art, life and everything.
That's how the Hilton Head Four (HH4) were born.

And we decided to keep each other motivated and challenged by having a fortnightly challenge set up. We take turns in setting the topic of the challenge - either a theme, a reference photo, a style, whatever. We have two weeks to paint and then we all post on our blogs at the same time and reveal all our paintings.
Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

This week to start it off it was my turn to set the challenge. And of course it just had to be a Hilton Head reference. A guy walking his dogs on the beach - it doesn't get more typical than that. We talked to the gentleman and he actually told us that he had a painting done of his dogs, and how hard it is to paint WHITE dogs. Well... yes!

So here's my rendition - 'Snoopy Guys'.

'Snoopy Guys'
Oil, 10'' x 8''

And - in no paticular order - the other paintings from the HH4. I just love to see them all together. Please make sure to take a look at the artist's blogs by clicking on their names. 

Stay tuned for the next HH4 Challenge in two weeks! - a small hint: we'll stay at the beach for now....

November 19, 2012

Beach Girl

The second painting done at the workshop on Hilton Head Island.
A wonderful, sunny day, but rather windy with strong waves. Just like us, this girl enjoyed a walk on the beach.

Beach Girl
Oil, 8'' x 8''

November 7, 2012

Atlanta Airport

On my way home to Switzerland. Two quick sketches done with the App 'Paper' on the iPad. Love those gadgets...




November 6, 2012

Hilton Head Island again

I haven't posted in a while, and part of the reason for that is that I've been traveling again. In fact, I'll only fly home tomorrow.

I was lucky to spend two weeks in the US (South and North Carolina and Georgia) and to meet up with friends and to attend another workshop with Karin Jurick. It was fantastic!

Just to give you an impression, here's the first painting I did - after watching Karin do a demo from the same reference picture.

"Sea Watch"
Oils, 8'' x 8''
More to come....

September 23, 2012


Beginning of the week I posted the portrait of Emilka, and as promised here's her brother Miša.

Miša is a bright, happy, sweet young boy who's interested in everything he sees and seems to take in the world around him eagerly. Upon having seen some Swiss flags while driving to our place in the car he very correctly explained to me how the white cross on the red ground needs to be just the right size, and should not touch the edge of the flag. Quite in contrast to the St. Georges's cross of the English flag he was proudly wearing on his shirt.

Like his sister Emilka, Miša is one of those kids that make you look forward to see the adults they will grow up to be.

Oil, 12'' x 12''

September 17, 2012


A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of getting to know this young lady, her brother and her parents.

Emilka is an absolute sweetheart, but also very clever, curious and interested in the world. With her five - and a half ! - years, she is ready to take on the world with a big smile and her sunny disposition, and I'm sure her family will be there every step of the way to support her.

Although I only just met Emilka and her family, I just had to try and capture her and her brother on canvas.
This is Emilka, I'll post the portrait of Miša soon.

Oil, 12'' x 12''

July 31, 2012

FeO - brand new and already rusty!

Sorry about the title, I couldn't resist!

This is one of the pieces I did at the workshop a week ago. It's acrylic on canvas, with sand, some collage and of course - the secret ingredient - rust!

Acrylic / Mixed Media on canvas, 32"x40"

Like you might have seen in the pictures from the last post, I started out by covering the canvas with a mixture of sand, marmor flour (?) and acrylic binder (resulting in a home-made modelling past) and played with the sand on canvas until I liked the structure and patterns it created.

Once this first ground layer was dry, I poured a fair amount of watered-down black acrylic on the canvas, moving the canvas, adding water where needed (by spraying or pouring from a water bottle). Again it needed to dry. I might then have added a second layer of black (can't remember) and then the next layer, this dark-beige-brownish color you can see on the right half of the canvas as well as the top left corner. Next layer: orange!

So far so good, but then it got to be really fun:

To the top right corner I added (glued in) a piece of stringy, net-like fabric / paper. Something you might use for wrapping up a nice flower or a present.
Then I made a paste out of iron powder and again acrylic binder and gently brushed this onto the fabric in order for it to add to the to 3D quality of the collage, covering only the elevated parts of the fabric.
So the white you can see above is the dried binder, the grey is the dried iron past.

BUT -  I didn't want iron but was looking for rust. So the iron part got then brushed on with an oxidation agent in order for the iron to start to rust. It only took about one to two hours for the grey paste to turn into...

... the rich sienna-like orange rust you can see above. I also added some rust to the lower left part of the painting and added some smaler fields of color, scribbles and splashes of colors and white.
And as a final touch I used some colored modelling paste and a stencil to add the lettering you can see.


July 19, 2012

Workshop Impressions

I'm spending one week at the beautiful Lake Constance (German part) to attend a workshop with Gerhard Almbauer. He's a great artist an teacher and we're doing large-size acrylic abstract paintings. I've taken a class with him before, this week now is titled "Earth - Sand - Rust". Doesn't that sound interesting?

Just a few snapshots, I'll post more work in progress pictures and information once I'm back home.



June 29, 2012

Maria 'The Enforcer' Hock

"Maria 'The Enforcer' Hock is perhaps the most dangerous member of the Hilton Head gang.  She is an instigator... a rabble rouser... a provocateur. She lures you into her circle of friends with promises of camaraderie, challenges, and critiques. She has three cameras and endless battery power. She is also deadly with her prose... if she can’t get a likeness... then it is very likely you will be the subject of a story... or BOTH!  Her husband is responsible for her nickname..."
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG

 Maria 'The Enforcer' Hock - MS021
Oil, 4'' x 4''

Well - Here she is. Maria. The Enforcer.
The last one of the Hilton Head Gang to be caught - only on canvas though!
You can see from Maria's gazing into the future that there's probably new havoc being planned, new shootings being prepared - all batteries charged and cameras at the ready.

I'm very happy to meet up again soon and go on a .... ehmmm.... painting spree with Maria again!

June 28, 2012

Allyson “Sundance” Schilb

Allyson “Sundance” Schilb does most of her shooting in the evening.  She, too, is one of the more quiet members of the Hilton Head Gang.  We do know that she rides with a biker gang.  She rode all over the island... There were tales of drive by shootings.  When other gang members were strolling beaches, sidewalks and tourist sites, Sundance was laying low... riding quietly and shooting unsuspecting victims.  We also know she is no less proficient than any of the other members... she is SLR ready and will shoot at will.
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG

  Allyson 'Sundance' Schilb - MS020
Oil, 4'' x 4''

This one again is a true mug. Allyson doesn't look happy, does she?
I started this one as a tonal study, so I only used black and white and some raw umber - it did look quite interesting as a monochrome, but I just missed adding at least a tiny amount of colour... so... she already looks happier now!

On another note: I just finished re-designing my Web Page -
I'd love for you to 'drop in' and have a look around!

June 23, 2012

Kit 'The Rebel' Hefner

"Kit 'The Rebel' Hefner does things her own way... follows her own path... beats to the beat of a different drummer. Kit hit town and immediately started shaking things up. She shoots where no one else shoots... she paints what no one else paints... she is a true rebel. If you think you know where Kit is or what she is thinking... you are wrong... If you think you know where she is... you don’t... AND if you think you can figure her out... well... you guessed it..."
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG  

 Kit 'The Rebel' Hefner - MS019
Oil, 4'' x 4''

As you might have noticed I've been rather busy with this mugs lately - because there's a deadline to meet. End of the month. I will definitely make it!
Kit's mug was again a challenge since she was making a face like she was really peeved at something. Probably at our workshop coming to an end. Understandable.
OR she just bit into a lemon... Who knows...

June 18, 2012

Judy "Fashionista" Elias

"Judy 'Fashionista' Elias is a petite blonde. She looks harmless enough, but with camera in hand she can be as devious as any member of the Hilton Head Gang  Her petite stature allows her to sneak into venues with seemingly childlike innocence... but don’t let that fool you. She enters, shoots then escapes before she is discovered. She is often enveloped in large decorative scarves that disguise her camera to make it easy for her to focus on unsuspecting victims... then she shoots and is out of sight before she is detected."
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG  

Judy 'Fashionista' Elias - MS018
Oil, 4'' x 4''

Hmmm... a 3/4 profile is quite a challenge. I just recently watched a demo by Scott Burdick where he explains how we're all when painting a 3/4 profile portrait are compelled to 'turn' the face more towards a front view - I know what he means! The reason for that is possibly that we're so used to our own face in the mirror, where we're always facing full front.
On a similar note (in another demo video) Rose Frantzen comments that most models sitting for a 3/4 view tend to turn their heads towards the painter as well. - That does speak for the front view portrait, doesn't it?

June 14, 2012

Diane "The Flash" Howard

"Diane 'The Flash' Howard - so named because she doesn’t use one. She purposely turns off her flash to get the proper shadows, lights and darks on her subject. What she cannot accomplish with the camera she adjusts with her palette. She is a master of color manipulation and can mask any subject to make them seem anonymous... she remains anonymous also... and uses the darkness to escape the authorities."
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG  

Diane 'The Flash' Howard - MS017
Oil, 4'' x 4''

I have to start taking photos of the 'work in progress' of these small ones. Since I keep going through the same process again and again...But I have learned not to let the awkward and strange stages stop me from just keeping at it. I guess the result here is a true 'mug' of The Flash. So - watch out!

June 10, 2012

Sheryl 'Red' Lott

"Sheryl 'Red' Lott with her fiery red hair and syrupy southern accent immediately disarms her victims.  She sashays into venues or onto the beach oozing that southern charm that lulls her victims into a false sense of security.  She is no less dangerous than the rest of the gang...she just looks harmless.  Her stash of covertly taken photographs is testament to her devious nature.  How she can remain anonymous with her blazing red locks we will never know.  Don’t let her demure southern behavior fool on the lookout!"
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG 

Sheryl 'Red' Lott - MS016
Oil, 4'' x 4''
I was really looking forward to painting Sheryl since we first took our mug shot photos - and not only because of her beautiful red hair!
Hmmm... I guess I managed with the red part.... not too sure this mug does Sheryl justice though. But then again: wouldn't want this little mug to be too much of a perfect likeness, since as a fellow Hilton Head Gang member I definitely do not want anyone to get caught!

June 6, 2012

Linda “Goldie” Nickles

All that glitters is not always gold. Goldie is as notorious as the rest of the gang. We believe she has a hideout on the island but authorities have not been able to locate the area she resides in nor apprehend her. Beware because she is a seasoned traveler and can assimilate herself into any environment...she is no less devious than the rest of the gang despite her petite stature and innocent look...she will shoot first and ask questions later. If you have been shot check local galleries for your likeness. If you are visiting Hilton Head be especially cautious...she has been known to walk among the visitors and shoot using her silencer...
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG

Linda 'Goldie' Nickles - MS015
Oil, 4'' x 4''

This piece was just a pleasure to paint! Linda is such a beautiful and generous lady, I was worried I might not 'catch' her... and painting blonde hair is always a bit of a struggle for me. But once I started out and had the profile established, the rest of the portrait just fell into place.
Don't you just love it when that happens?

June 4, 2012

Cathy “The Traveler” Engberg

Cathy “The Traveler” Engberg was first seen in Chicago shooting and Wreaking havoc in popular tourist sites.  Wherever there was a crowd Cathy would stealthily make her way into the venue and begin shooting.  Millennium Park is still recovering from her visit.  She then was seen with the Hilton Head Gang.  It isn’t known whether the rest of the gang was in Chicago also or if she travels alone.  What is known is that she is armed and dangerous.  Shots will be fired...paintings will be rendered.  Check out local galleries for her artwork.  Don’t approach her without backup.
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG 

Cathy 'The Traveler' Engberg - MS014
Oil, 4'' x 4''

Finally! I'm back from Singapore, back from a weekend in England, and back at the easel!

As you can see from my blog, I haven't been painting for two months now. Although I took my painting stuff with me to Singapore, I only managed to get two mug shots done. Too much 'distraction'... ;-)
Anyway, I'm back home now and determined to get all 20 mugs done by the end of June. This is number 13 of the Hilton Head Gang, so there are seven more to go. I was quite apprehensive to get back to painting after two months off, but decided not to worry about likeness and such and just enjoy.
And I did!

March 12, 2012

Dawn 'The Shadow' Hartigan

Dawn “The Shadow” Hartigan is so named because she is deceptively quiet. She sneaks in with an unassuming look and an unsuspecting public can expect to be exposed.  Shots will be fired in rapid succession and before you know it “The Shadow” has moved to her next victim.  Paintings will be painted, shown in galleries, and bought by people you don’t even know.  You could actually be hanging in someone else’s home without your knowledge.  You won’t even know...only “The Shadow” knows...
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG 

Dawn 'The Shados' Hartigan - MS013
Oil, 4'' x 4''
Another rather loose one.. and rather colorful.....
Still, enjoyed painting it a lot - especially with Dawn stern look.

March 4, 2012

Terri 'Bones' Buchholz

"Terri 'Bones' Buchholz claims to be a nurse and uses her position to gain unsuspecting victims’ confidence.  As soon as she recognizes that you are a vulnerable mark she swoops in and reveals herself as a Florence Nightingale just trying to help... she shoots and then disappears into the crowd.  She can see a victim a mile away... authorities believe she has a telephoto lens that gives her access to otherwise unavailable victims.  Be on the lookout... she too... is armed and dangerous!"
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG

 Terri 'Bones' Buchholz - MS012
Oil, 4'' x 4''

As you probably realized I'm far behind with the 'weekly' Hilton Head mug. BUT I'm so proud I finally got to paint the next one - since I carried all my painting materials over here to Singapore I might as well make use of them.

Again, the 'non painting' time off posed a big obstacle for me, I was quite apprehensive. But definitely wanted to try and 'catch' Terri - she was my 'neighbour' during our workshop and is a wonderful artist (see link on the right...).

February 19, 2012

Portrait of Sarah

I've painted this portrait in January, but didn't post it yet as it is a commisioned piece. Now that it has safely arrived at it's destination, I can post it here.

"Portrait of Sarah"
Oil, 6''x6''

I do not know Sarah, but from the reference picture and the mails of the lady who commissioned the piece you can feel that she's a happy, lovely young woman - and always smiling!

I hope I did her justice....

February 11, 2012


I felt like posting something powerful, knowing that I probably won't get to paint for the next week or so.

Acrylic, 32'' x 32''

February 6, 2012

What I've been doing lately...

Just a quick post: I didn't get to painting last week and I probably will be too busy with other stuff to get anything done in the next week.

Why? - check out my new blog:

I hope I'll be painting and posting more again soon.

January 31, 2012

HHG Mug Shot #10 - 'Eagle Eye'

"Betsy 'Eagle Eye' Stevenson. She is deceptively innocent looking. She is a frequent world traveler who has been know to shoot in Italy and France as well as throughout the United States. Along with being an expert shot our sources say she may well just set up an easel and capture images on site. Beware of easels in the field...easels on the beach...beware! We know is she is armed with a SLR and dangerous to those who don’t want to be immortalized on canvas."
Maria Hock, fellow member of the HHG

 Betsy 'Eagle Eye' Stevenson - MS011
Oil, 4'' x 4''

This was an... interesting painting experience. First I really wanted to do Betsy justice (yes, pun intended, Betsy!). Then I didn't really have a lot of time as I was chatting with my studio partner instead of painting. And than - and that is so typically me - I only sqeezed out the smallest amount of paint, and only some seven colors. Don't know why.
And of course the mugshot started out strange, got stranger, suddenly turned around and actually look almost great. And of course I kept painting and the mugshot took another turn and tried to go down the awkward road again. I hope I stopped it in time.
This mug would definitely have profitted from more time, but with all of those small 4x4 mugs I only do one painting session (however long or short) and don't go back to it. For better or for worse...

January 25, 2012

I Hang.... with Karin J.

Just to let everybody know:

Almost all of the Hilton Head Gang members are taking part in the 'A Sense of Place' exhibition at the Sedona Arts Center. As is Karin Jurick! - so the above sign definitely applies....

The Gang has debated whether to attend, mails have been exchanged and advise given. We decided to take the risk of 'public appearance', so it's definitely a chance to see the HHG. If only through our master pieces!

The show's opening is January 25th - today! - with Sedona's "First Friday" Artwalk and reception on February 3rd. The exhibit will continue through February 14th.

I've sent brave little Cookie (as in "Cookie's Evening Walk") all the way to Arizona. Hopefully to find a great new home.

January 24, 2012

HHG Mug Shot #9 - 'The Moniker'

"It is week 9 in the search for the Hilton Head Gang...the notorious members of Karin Jurick’s workshop. The trail is still hot... so we shall continue on. We are determined to feature one member each week until they are all accounted for.
Chris 'The Moniker' Werst comes by her alias honestly. She misses nothing. At beaches, Galleries, tourist attractions... she retains everything. She is very proficient at finding out and remembering names of people, places and things. She uses this to her advantage. She will call your name and then act like she knows you... by the time you realize she is a stranger it is too late... you are digitally immortalized and destined to become canvas bound.
Her whereabouts is totally unknown as she does not... at this writing... have a blog."

Chris 'The Moniker' Werst - MS010
Oil, 4'' x 4''

I didn't get to paint Chris' mug last week (I was busy partying ;-)... ). But when I started it yesterday it just seemed to paint itself. Mind you, that doesn't mean it didn't go through the awkward stage!

I might not be able to keep up with our weekly mugs in the next months, but I'll try not to fall too far behind. It's such a great exercise, amazing fun and wonderful way to stay in contact....

Oh, and I have to add this: Chris, go and start your own blog!!! We miss you in the blogosphere!

January 16, 2012

Red Hot

This is the last painting done during the Hilton Head workshop - or rather 'after' the workshop: a few unstoppable ladies and I stayed on Friday afternoon to 'paint on' as Karin would say. I'm glad I did! 

"Red Hot"
Oil on panel, 8'' x 10''
--> BUY NOW <--

This scene is typical for Hilton Head. Everybody seems to be riding along the beautiful wide beach. I just loved this red beachcruiser...

January 11, 2012

HHG Mug Shot #8 - 'The Guardian'

"This week finds us looking for Nancy 'The Guardian' Darling, so named because of her help with rescue dogs.  She often travels with a large pack of dogs which hampers her ability to shoot but that does not prevent her from trying.  She uses the dogs to attract unsuspecting subjects then while they are being distracted...she shoots.  It is a devious but very effective plan.  I hear she and her pack will be heading up to Alaska to participate in the Iditarod...that may be a false lead...just be on the lookout..."

Nancy 'The Guardian' Darling - MS009
Oil, 4'' x 4''

Another one that kept me doubting the whole time while painting but came together in the end. Hopefully...

If you want to look at all the mug shots together - I've added a page to my blog called 'Hilton Head Gang - all the Mugs'; you can access it from the banner at the very top of the blog.

January 5, 2012

Cookie's Evening Walk - Hilton Head Island

I realized I haven't posted all the paintings from my workshop with Karin Jurick on Hilton Head Island yet. I painted this next piece on the third day, and I just have to smile whenever I look at it!

'Cookie's Evening Walk'
Oil, 8'' x 8''

This is my first painting of a dog and it was such fun - of course Cookie's a cutie, and with her red coat and the setting sun the staging was perfect. Fitting for such a starlet.
Oh, and I don't know her (or his?) real name, but I gave my little niece a toy for Christmas and she calls it Cookie, so I just borrowed that name. I know she won't mind.

I'm considering entering this painting in the 'Sense of Place' - Exhibition at the Sedona Arts Center in February. Have to decide between this and two other options...

January 1, 2012

HHG Mug Shot #7 - 'The Streak'

"Roxanne 'The Streak' Duke is so named because she is stealthy.  She streaks by and shoots at will and disappears before detected by unsuspecting victims.  Roxanne flies under the radar...finding a photo of her was not easy...we had to scour the internet, check past files and canvas neighborhoods just to find this one.  We don’t know when the photo was taken...her look may have changed.  scrutinize everyone you see...
This is the only known picture of Roxanne..."

Roxanne 'The Streak' Duke - MS008
Oil, 4'' x 4''

The first day of the new year 2012 - and the first painting! Seems very fitting that it should be a mug shot of a member of the Hilton Head Gang...
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