A pair of plums

Plums and glass“Plums and Glass”  |  6″x6″  |  oil on gesso board  |  purchase here

After finishing over 300 paintings, I’ve covered a pretty wide range of subjects.  Poking through my archives, I can find pets, fruit and veggies, portraits, mountains, boats, figures, seagulls, trees, pastries, and even the occasional parrot. But even so, there a few subjects that I avoid at all costs.  Babies, for one.  Paintings of babies are always one misplaced brushstroke away from an offended parent.  And glass – oh, how I’ve avoided glass.

I finally tried painting some clear glass a couple of weeks ago at Carol Marine’s workshop.  While it wasn’t exactly easy, it turns out that it wasn’t too hard either.  Glass, like this small vase, is made up of shapes, values, and colors just like anything else you might care to paint.  And the only real challenge is being able to really see these shapes, values and colors without your brain getting in the way.

Summer Tomatoes

Summer Tomatoes

“Summer Tomatoes” | 6″x6″ | oil on gesso board | purchase here

Two weeks ago, I finally got the chance to fulfill one of my painting dreams…taking a workshop with daily painter Carol Marine!  It’s something that I’d wanted to do since I first stumbled upon her fresh, contemporary impressionist paintings sometime last year.  So when she announced that she was planning another workshop, my painter friend Sheila Arora and I jumped at the chance.

The workshop was everything I’d imagined and more.  We spent the week watching demos, asking questions, and practicing new techniques.  And I actually came home with two small paintings that I’m extremely proud of (which is definitely not a given when you’re learning some new techniques).  Carol also inspired me to incorporate more daily painting into my life, which is something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

I feel like I’ve been neglecting the painting part of my brain these past several months since I’ve been so overwhelmed with launching my ketubah and marriage certificate business, Ink with Intent.  But now that the wedding season is finally winding down (woo hoo!), I’m ready to dive headfirst back into painting.  It feels good to be back in front of my easel!

“Dog on a Walk” – The Complete Collection

Do you remember when I set off on a mission to create a series of paintings capturing the best part of any dog’s day? Tons of lovely people submitted their photos, and selecting the ones to use was a hard, hard task. But I finally narrowed it down to my 14 favorites, and began painting like there’s no tomorrow.

Now I’m excited to present my completed “Dog on a Walk” series!  Click on each picture to see more detail.

These small paintings will be selling for $100-$175 each depending on the size.  They’ll be available for purchase at Bad Dog Frida as part of Madison’s Gallery Night on May 2, 2014.  But after that event, I will make them available on my website for purchase.

I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who took the time to look through their photos and share snippets of their lives with me.  Whether or not I ended up using your picture, I was truly inspired by everything that came my way.

He was eying my lunch

On Saturday, I had the great fortune of attending a painting workshop by one of my favorite contemporary painters, Shelby Keefe.  To say I was star-struck is a bit of an understatement.  When I walked into her studio, I started acting like a 13-year old who had just scored back-stage passes to a N’Sync concert (did I just date myself?)


She started the day by demoing her signature painting technique.  I was fascinated to learn that she starts each piece with a wash of acrylic paint in bold, vibrant colors.  I’d used this technique in the past, but never with such a saturated under-painting.  The results are magical.  Her contemporary impressionist pieces take my breath away.  Here’s the painting that she whipped out in first hour and a half of class.   Jealous much?


In the second part of the workshop, we all took out our paints and tried to apply her techniques to our own work.  I had decided to work off a photo I snapped on a trip to San Francisco a few years back.  We had been sitting behind the Ferry Building enjoying a feast of french macaroons, local yogurt and house-made granola (we were going to do this California Cuisine thing right), when a seagull began pacing back and forth in front of our table eying our food.  The photo I took had some wonderful shapes with the bike, railing and shadows.



I spent the next four hours sketching out my composition, mixing colors, and trying to apply the lessons I’d learned from Shelby’s demo.  I’m actually really happy with how it came out!



Lunchtime Staredown


Thanks Shelby for a completely wonderful day of painting!


Pet Portraits – Yep, I still do them!

Is it just me, or has it been ages since I last shared some of my recent pet portraits?

Oh, I’ve still been painting them.  In fact, today I shipped my 150th pet portrait.  Woo!

Here are a few portraits that have made their way out of my studio over the last few weeks.


6″x6″ Oil on canvas


8″x10″ acrylic on canvas


4″x4″ acrylic on canvas


4″x4″ acrylic on canvas


8″x10″ acrylic on canvas


4″x4″ acrylic on canvas

3 New Oils + An Interview

Ever since I started my second business last month selling ketubot and marriage certificates, free time has suddenly become much harder to find.  I’m hoping that once I settle in to the rhythms of juggling three jobs (I also do consulting work), things will get a bit easier.  That said, I’m not really that stressed.  For starters, I love all three of the things I do, so spending time on them never feels that much like work.  And then there’s the fact that I started doing yoga three weeks ago.  After spending an hour twisting myself into pretzels, I have a hard time getting worked up into a panic.


This week, I worked on three little oil paintings.


I was eating dumplings at Paul’s Pelmeni with my friend Kendra (p.s. if you ever have a craving for beef and potato stuffed packets smothered in butter, curry, hot sauce and sour cream, THIS is your place), when I noticed how great the lighting was and how amazing her hair looked.  Her hair always looks amazing, but it looked particularly fabulous that day.  She was kind enough to let me snap a few photos, and I later turned them into my second portrait in oils.  I know it’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  Besides, the only way to learn is to do something new over and over and over again.  Thanks for lending me your beautiful face, Kendra!


“Kendra” |  8″x10″  |  oil on gesso board


A few days later, I snapped some photos of my friend Jackie and her quirky husky Kayak while we were at the dog park.  While I took this photo, my dog Copernicus was locked in my car, and I could feel him shooting daggers into my back with his eyes.  Once he got to romp around in the snow, all was forgiven.  It’s going to be a part of my “Dog on a Walk” series.  P.S.  This girl has her own business hand-making ceramic home-wares.  I am so, so, so obsessed with her collection.  I suggest that maybe you pop on over there and treat yourself to your next favorite mug.

Jackie and Kayak

“Jackie and Kayak”  |  6″x6″  |  oil on gesso board

On Sunday, I met my friend Amber in downtown Madison to have some brunch and wander around aimlessly.  This, of course, quickly turned into me chasing down strangers with cute dogs to take their picture.  Amber rolled with it — I’m lucky to have friends who put up with how weird I am.  I snapped this photo of a super nice guy on the way to the park with his Labradoodle, Gunter.  Gunter was in a hurry to get there, but he was kind enough to let me snap a few pictures first.  I’m experimenting with trying to pack more detail into these tiny paintings.  By picking busier scenes, it’s forcing me to learn how to let the stuff in the background be more abstract.  I swear, you learn something new with every painting.  This is also part of my “Dog on a Walk” series.

Gunter does Madison

“Gunter Does Madison”  |  6″x6″  |  oil on gesso board

The other big news from this week is that last night, the amazing Michelle Ward interviewed me as part of her Grown Up Gigs free event!  Mine was the first live interview of many, so I highly encourage you to sign up and see what else is on the docket.  I got to chat with her about how I got started as an artist, my biggest set backs and successes, and what advice I have for people who are just starting to sell their hand-made goods.  You can watch the whole thing here, if you’re interested.

Hello! I’m Adriana, an unapologetically upbeat artist, living in Madison, WI. And I'm a tiny bit obsessed with painting. Learn more here.

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