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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cards Still Available

I have been filling an order for cards over the last week. The birds are a favorite theme this year. This collage is named "Believe".
I have used another bit of imagination and called this card "Sparrow". I am sure you are wondering where I get these brilliant bits of inspiration in the naming of my artwork.
A little genius from Leonardo da Vinci and a sketch of another bird are "Take Flight".

I have found drawing all of these birds this Christmas has given me faith in my drawing again. After the gift giving is over I will post a portrait I have been commissioned to do.

Orders for cards are still being taken. If you are interested please email me immediately at Cards are $5.00, each is an original piece of artwork and could be matted and framed. The birds are each hand drawn and colored.

Monday, November 28, 2011

To Begin Again

"Two birds in the hand" is the name of this little painting.
"Madonna" is the name of this little painting.

I have been producing more little paintings, fewer details, meeting more deadlines.

Along the way I have been introduced to the art of two men who hold a devoted hand to their paintbrushes and sculpting tools.

Alexi Torres a master painter of such passion and detail and Grainger McKoy a sculptor of birds in flight, in life, in a vulnerable recovery.

I have learned more from seeing the work of these men and being in their presence. It sounds a little creepy and new-agey using phrases like that, but feeling the commitment to their art. Their love for what they do. The attention they pay their art. It is a wake-up call to me.

I have been reminded of this recently in my own work. Slow down and reconnect with what makes my art my own. The detail, the color, the beth of the art is what is missing.

Regroup and begin again.

copyright 2011 Beth Crews Rommel

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life Just Carried Her Away

A client who bought a painting several years ago asked if I had any angel paintings available this year. Of course the answer is always "yes".

So I got busy creating some new angels to keep my older angels company. This is one I finished yesterday. She is a long tall drink of heavenly acrylic on a 12" x 24" canvas.

I have been painting lots of small canvases for the Christmas season. A Decatur hair salon and boutique, The Beehive Hair Company, has asked for some pieces and some original artcards.

I have three pieces for the show at the Swan Coach House Gallery.
This is "Then Life Just Carried Her Away", a small 8" x 8" canvas.

All work is copyright of Beth Crews Rommel 2011.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Having spent so much time in Santa Fe surrounded by American Indian art I find myself using elements of it in my creations.

This is the "Storyteller".

The storyteller dolls in New Mexico are from the Pueblo people. The dolls are typically surrounded by figures who are listening to their tales. My woman is carrying her listeners along as she explores and finds new stories.

This is a bit autobiographical....and will be seen at the Swan Coach House Gallery show later this month. She measures 8" x 8" on a gallery wrapped canvas of 11/2" depth.

copyright Beth Crews Rommel 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Little Ideas Mean a Lot

Before I begin a painting there is a process of thinking, planning and staging my materials.

There is quite a bit of time that passes when I mull over ideas. That kind of goes like this:

Where will my paintings take place?
Will there be flying people?
What are they thinking about?
What is accompanying them?
Is this an academic piece to revisit traditional subject matter?
Do I have reference materials/photos of this subject?
Stop thinking and get busy!

The drawing above is done on movers packing paper with a sharpie. It is a study for "Our Lady of the Seeds and Weeds". the finished painting in acrylic on a 16"x 20" canvas is pictured below.

I have been sketching and painting small pieces for a show at The Swan Coach House Gallery. I am so pleased to be included in the Little Things Mean A Lot Show that begins mid-November. The gallery is located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta off West Paces Ferry at 3130 Slaton Drive. Plan lunch and a little shopping while visiting this lovely space.

all work copyrighted by Beth Crews Rommel 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good-Bye "Good-Bye Lady"

The "Good-Bye Lady" now has a home in California. She will not be returning from her west coast debut. Somebody liked her enough to offer her a new home with a check attached. I am so fond of this painting, she is very autobiographical, waving good-bye to her farm and farmer. My friends in Florida tended me as good friends and farmers do.

They made sure I had lots of nurturing.

It is sad to see your spot in book club, the one you co-founded with your good buddy ten years ago, taken by a new member. It is sad to know your spot in the car for the annual trip to the antique barns will be filled by someone else. It is sad to know you can't do a sneak birthday attack on a friend's special day.

However, the time together, when it comes, will be sweeter than ever. The hugs will have new meaning, the cups of coffee more conversation, and the glasses of wine will be raised to enduring friendship.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Go West.

My ladies have gone west to Davis, California for the Pour for Prevention event this Saturday evening. This is a time to thank the people who work with abused children. Their heartbreaking job is so important and sadly even necessary. My friend, artist and art therapist, Hannah Hunter describes this art and vintner collaboration, the meaning behind it and the terrible statistics that befall children in our country on her blog. As we read the newspaper we daily see the need for child abuse agencies. It is a sad commentary on our world that is even necessary, but it is.

If you will be in Sacramento this weekend please consider attending this event. You will have the opportunity to taste fine wines and view great art. For more information, click here for the details.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Carrying a Kindle Instead

As of this morning my computer is up and transmitting for the first time since we moved. What a relief to have my trusty keyboard and monitor and all that goes with it.

While unpacking boxes and hanging artwork in our new house I planned my next pieces. My friend, Hannah Hunter has invited me to participate in a show in Davis, California. The event will take place at the end of this month. I will send "Good-Bye" the lady in the yellow and pink dress, but wanted two new pieces for the California debut.

With this show in mind I have created "Lady of the Written Word". Maybe it is the many boxes of books I moved, or the 20 bags of books I donated to charity before we moved, or the love I now have for my Kindle that prompted this piece.

I was one of those folks who said I need to have the sensory experience of touching the cover and turning the pages. I was after all a librarian and have always wanted to illustrate children's books.

Last night after switching off my trusty Kindle I realized it is the words in the book that hold me spellbound. The turning of the pages is okay, but the fact that I am building my own library in a slim volume of my own is pretty fantastic. I marvel at all of the words I can hold in my hand and access in an almost weightless volume.

Maybe the next painting of the "Lady of the Written Word" should be a figure with a Kindle flying happily as she holds her complete library in one hand. She won't be groaning as she carries boxes of her treasured tomes up several flights of stairs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

10 things I have Noticed

I have made mental notes of some things I have noticed in my first weeks in our new hometown of Atlanta.

1. The restaurants are fantastic. Fresh food, imagination in cuisine and surroundings, and there is a lot to choose from.

2. It is hot, but it is dry heat:)

3. The Botanical Gardens are beautiful. A demonstration kitchen in the heart of the vegetable garden, the herb wall, the orchid house, the conservatory with quail wandering about inside, the Hydrangeas, the canopy walk...a real treat even in the summer heat...shade works.

4. Traffic abounds.

5. I am going to love Decatur. Tons of sand are being brought to the square this weekend for a beach party. What fun if I had small children.

6. The farmer's markets are full of great food right now...corn, peaches, tomatoes.

7. I wish I had some friends here to explore with.

8. Almost every person I pass on my walks says, "hello." The southern way, how nice.

9. My French Market coffee is $7.99 a pound at the grocery! Ack! That is crazy expensive.

10. We need rain in the worst way. That would then change the dry heat equation...hmm.

The High Museum is on my to-do list for today. I will report back on that adventure.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Be Still

I have three of my favorite paintings with me. The "Cowboy", the "Sailor" and the pink and yellow clothed lady named "Good-bye". They are propped on the floor of this Buckhead living room. I am seeing them again, remembering their colors and patterns, and reminding myself why they are my favorites. They are part of my heart.

I began to visit galleries yesterday.

Here was the one I had seen on my past visits. This was the spot with the great location in my new hometown. Looks like a lovely space. Walk in...artwork stacked haphazardly on the floor. A painting hanging on the wall with a ladder leaning against it. How could it be? Art abuse.

My 2 dimensional children deserve a better home than that.

We are anxious to settle down, my artwork and me. This was not the place for us. We must keep searching...

In the last 24 hours two wise voices have kindly counseled me to slow down and take my time. Then on her last show Oprah mentioned "being still" and listening before making a decision. Looking before leaping, thinking it through, saying a prayer.

Sage words.

A reflection of my past year. Patience.

copyright Beth Crews Rommel