Tuesday, April 3, 2018


The client wanted me to paint something so she could  remember Toby, and her request was simple.       " I want a painting that makes me smile when I look at it.. and I want a blue background. " She wanted something large- and she settled on a 24 x 24.  In the photos she sent me Toby was a calm and peaceful looking doggy. I wanted to have his eyes be the focal point .. and his big ole beautiful nose tilted to look like he was curious what his owner was doing.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mootsie In The Sunlight

Brothers On The Beach

A client sent me this photo to paint as a gift to her daughter. She said " I know the little one is scratching his bum but we think this is so cute!" I had a hard time not calling it the " Red Solo Cup" - because the older brother is sipping his breakfast juice from a red Solo cup and enjoying the scenery. It was fun to paint- little boys with jammies on and little squirrels hopping around on their little back sides. The client texted me after Christmas and said " My daughter loved her painting!"

Three Dog Day

I enjoyed painting this for a client who wanted all three dogs but not three paintings. She is giving this painting to one of her children as a Christmas gift.

Sunday, December 31, 2017


I always ask my clients to send me as many photos as they have so I can get to know the dog and the owner. Usually I like to get 25 or so, that way I can see the dog's personality and the relationship that the dog and the owner has. I am so glad I used that method with this painting. This dog, in every photo, was staring poignantly at his owner. Such a devoted look and expression!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Boy and His Dog

I normally do not crop things so tight, but this client wanted a very small painting and in order to get all the expression of  her grandson as well as the cuteness of the dog on a very small canvas you have to be able to work with the composition. She loved it. I loved it- so we are all happy.- My husband loved it too so that was just bonus points.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Big Brother

When the mother of these children sent me this photo and asked me to paint it as a portrait I was absolutely tickled pink. Pink as this baby's cheeks. The photo had a really big white glare spot on the top of the boys head from the camera flash and it was a bit faded. I absolutely love painting children, and rarely does someone send me an old photo that has a baby and child who both have a pleasant expression. - plus the lighting - oh I could go on.  Fast forward to " They grow up way too fast" his little boy is 18 now and his little sister is half his age so she is about 9.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Wedding Dog

This little pup was supposed to be in his owners wedding, but at a young age he ate something and got very sick. A family member asked me to do a painting of  him so he could be present at the wedding.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Guarding The Gate

This is Rita, she is a soldiers dog, her owner is in the United States Marines. She guards the gate at home, alert, waiting, protecting.... just like her owner guards his country. It was a honor to paint Rita, the soldiers wife says Rita has some health issues and may not be at the gate when he returns this time from deployment.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


This is Dolly with her first water fowl catch on the beaches of NC.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bodies First Swan

I tried to capture the solemn moment a young boy has when he has his first successful hunt. This was painted from a photo of my young nephew.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Night Watchman

This is painting I worked on recently  to study Rembrandt's style.  Rembrandt painted The Night Watch in 1642 and it is known as one of his most famous paintings. It is also been recognized as one of Rembrandt’s most debatable and controversial works of art. -
Painted it in the middle of a green canvas

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Caymen Islands: The Storm

I created this painting from a photo I took in the Grand Cayman Islands. Settle in, this is a long story. It was  the year 2008 and I had just completed my Associate Divinity Degree and a season of Chaplaincy at Duke Hospital. My husband wanted to go scuba diving with my son. I felt that it would be nice to join them for a little 9 day rest. I was also into whittling at that time and  was sitting on my porch the day before we left for the Island whittling a walking stick and cut my wrist. I received 9 stitches. It should have been a warning to me, an omen of sorts.

We arrived in Belize and took what I call an egg beater airplane over to the Island. I was not comfortable on that small plane, it did not help that  one of the 15 passengers on the plane was a man who talked loudly and with great knowledge about the likely chance we would all die. The Island was beautiful and the water was clear and an exotic green. There were pineapples and coconuts all ready for picking. It was just like the brochures depicted, except when when you  walked behind the resort. It was then I discovered it was more like a set from a Western Movie made in  the 50's... things were propped up and painted up front, and in shambles when you walked around the corner.

We stayed in one of the best resorts there and decided not to complain about the fact that there was no hot water after we mentioned it one time and realized the maid did not speak English. Then the power kept cutting off, sometimes for hours. We watched the news and discover it was not the approaching Typhoon that caused the power to go off, it was that the Island had not paid their part of the  power bill. Belize was mad at that little island. That was okay. The Island was stunning and charming. The little village behind the resort had some nice little vendors and we were amazed to discover there were no flies. None. You could eat outside and never see one. I asked the locals  why there were no flies and they said... ( okay, this is the truth- I kid you not) ....that the flies would be in on Thursday.

My husband and son gleefully charted their scuba course and took off on the boat early the first morning while the clouds gathered over the horizon and the news reports mentioned that hurricane/tropical storm Arthur was heading for shore. They managed to get in two days of Scuba before the resort took on the look of Gilligan's Island. We listened to the wind whistle and battened down the hatches.

The next day was Thursday. The flies were everywhere. I found out later that they come the first rain. Talk about timing. I felt like that deserved a paragraph all of its own.

After Arthur came through the news report said that Alma was heading towards the Island. We had experienced 4 days by then with flickering lights, cold showers, and pelting rain, although some how the guys had gotten two beautiful scuba days. Both days I wandered the island during the day and in the afternoon I stood on the dock, the one in my painting and watched the afternoon storms roll in wondering if they would make it back to land. Apparently it does not seem so bad under the water as  on the shore.

When Arthur finished ripping every coconut and banana off of the trees on the Grand Cayman Islands I heard about Alma  and I decided not to hang around to meet her. I was concerned that for Act Number Three Arthur and Alma would spawn a little demon storm named Alvin. We called our airlines and cut the trip short. I got back on the little egg beater plane with the winds whipping up and the pelting rain and I was not afraid, I was heading home.

I will refrain from telling you the details of our flight home. Suffice it to know it was a rough plane trip and the lady beside me had to use the little bitty bag.  I  considered it now part of my new personality to be courageous and endure hardship and came close to kissing the Texas tarmac when we arrived to change planes and head back to NC. That tarmac was hot and nasty but really yeah, I was ready to bow down to the earth and French kiss it.

I got my stitches removed the following week. 

So enjoy the painting. I will not go back for more photos.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It's a Dog's Day

I was out at the  Wake Forest Historical Museum enjoying  Plein-Air painting "The Old Well" landmark one summer morning when Allen came by walking his dog Frankie. Apparently this is their neighborhood and hang out, and the go to place to walk on beautiful days. It seemed natural to add them into the painting I was working on and I appreciate Allen letting me take some photo references to use as well. I tried to capture the peacefulness and sunlight as well as  the relationship between Allen and Frankie. It was also nice to be able to put them in the surroundings that they are both familiar with. I decided to call this painting "It's a Dog's Day" because of the relationship between the man and his dog. Clearly when this dog is around ... the day belongs to him!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Falls Lake Dam Fisherman

Pleinair Painting of a Man Fishing
Today I went out  to enjoy the fresh air and friends. It is very hot outside right now and everyone wants to leave after a few hours except me. I could stay all day. This man was kind enough to stand relatively still for us. I think we made him kind of nervous after he figured out that we were painting him. But he was a good sport about it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Quick Vignette of My Mother in law

One day last year I took my camera over to my Mother In Law's home to take some photos of her. She got her hat, and a book, and placed a beautiful vase of roses on the table beside her and posed. She grows the nicest  roses  so that was a great set up. Time passes and I have been wanting to get around to doing a painting of one of her poses but have not had time. So late one night I decided to just do a little head shot study and  paint a little 11 x 14 study of  her. When I got  to this point I liked it and decided not to change a thing. I gave it to her for Mothers Day and she loved it.I think sometime soon I will try to paint the whole scene.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Harkers Island Fish Trip

Saint Lucia

 A Catholic School wanted me to paint St Lucia for a festival they are having. They sent me the picture and I called back. "Do I have to paint the eyes in the bowl?" Yes, they said, " St Lucia was was an innocent girl killed for her faith and her eyes were poked out, so that was her "offering, or sacrifice." At first I was a little creeped out, but then I thought of all the places in the world- today- where Christians - young children- are being killed, maimed, & held in prisons for their faith. Although this young women lived many years ago in today's modern world there are other ways in which people sacrifice their life for the life of another, Police Officers, Moms and Dads, Firemen, the Military.  Scripture says " Greater love has no man than this- that he would lay down His life for His "friends." God intends for us  to love others before ourselves. We are called to love those who are different from us, to love those who do not believe what we believe, to be merciful and kind. God is love.
This is painted on 1/4 inch wood and cut out, the back is painted gold and I created a prop for it in the back so it could be set on a table with poinsettias around it  
I decided to show 2 photos because the one with the white back ground ( which is from where I sat the painting in my white shadow box ) does not show that it is a wood cut out. I included of the photo of the painting  on the easel so you could see that it is not on a canvas. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Charleston SC Cove

Harkers Island NC Light House Horses

This is my husbands favorite place in the world to fish. He works hard from sun up to sundown  7 days a week. He is lucky to get that rare day when the wind is not blowing and the waves are not too rough and everything lines up just right at work. In the past 35 years I generally would not go with him because he leaves at 4 in the morning and also the waves can whip up choppy quickly and make for a scarey ride.This particular day I decided to brave it and was so glad I did. The ocean was like glass and the horses were out getting a early morning breakfast.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rainy Day on the Corner of Jackson & Grant: China Town, San Fransico

   This by far took the longest of any painting I have done.
 It was like a puzzle, every day I put it together piece by piece. 
I was afraid to do the Chinese lettering because I know how easy it 
Is to make a mistake and then who knows what you just wrote in Chinese? 
My fear is grounded on reality. Many years ago we had some Spanish 
speaking employees for our business  I had a little hand book  on learning Spanish and was trying
 to learn a phrase or two. They put up with me . 
I could say "¿Dónde está Philluip ? ( Where is Phillip?) and they 
would point me in the right direction.  Then one morning I was on my way to work 
and I hit a cat that ran in front of my car. and I wanted to tell them.
 I thought I remembered what the word" dead" sounded like, 
and everybody knows cat is gato so I went into work
 and said " El gato es una mierda." Then I made little hand motions 
and charade signals to relay the story of the cat.
They nodded solemnly. I figured they were feeling pretty bad for that cat.
 Later that week I was with a group of friends
one of whom could speak fluent Spanish, so I told him what I said to the
workers about the cat. He laughed until he cried. I was puzzled-"
What?"I asked," What?" He said between gasp of breath..
"Tammy, you were so close,but you said "the cat is shit." 
 If you wanted to say the cat is dead you
should have said...El gato está muerto. 
El gato está muerto - El gato es una mierda." ..
.. it sounded the same to me. And so it is true, close doesn't count
except in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Psalms 23 Trilogy

The women who commissioned this painting said she did not want art that came from a store or off a shelf. She wanted to be a part of the design and wanted an original painting in her living room by a real artist she knew-( me!)  She gave some serious thought to what she wanted to say and the feeling she wanted to convey .  When I finally met with her and she  told me she wanted to talk about a trilogy of  the Twenty Third Psalms I was really excited. These paintings are each 18 x 24 inches and I put the brown border on them to show how they would look when they were framed. One of the things she loves are poppies and so we did some research and found out that poppies do grow in the Holy Land so I put them at the foot of the mountain in the final painting of the sheep being rescued.  I read a book on shepherds and his care of sheep before I began and we discovered that there are  blue flowers that can make the sheep sick so I used little blue flowers in the painting where Jesus is looking for the lost sheep. We decided to go with a sky that was yellow and looked moody. It was early morning when  I delivered them and she was very happy with the results of all our collaboration. Her husband was sitting in the living room drinking his coffee  and in front of him was the blank wall  that would soon give him a peaceful scene to enjoy ... 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Quick Trick Book Stack

I still have a plethora of books hanging around. My kids love books and as they got older the books accumulated. I wanted to do a still life one afternoon so I decided to put them to use along with some pansy's from the yard. I stacked them all in my shadow box and adjusted the lighting, it took a few tries to get it all balanced and looking the way I wanted it to look and some where along the way I began to call it a "Quick Trick Book Stack."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bella In Black and White

Commission Dog Portrait: Bella is a proud mischievous little Shih-zu who, had she been human would have been a great little runway model. She posed very prettily for her photo shoot and we had a hard time choosing the one to be painted because they all came out so nice. This is because Bella is still young enough to  look good all the time .

Monday, February 24, 2014

Floyd: The ECU Pirate Dog

Floyd was a special commission for  "Jennifer" a little girl who was in my 2 year old class way  back in the day.  Jennifer grew up to be a lovely young lady and Floyd was her pet. About the time Jennifer got pregnant with her first child  Floyd passed away. Her mother called me and asked me to paint a picture of Floyd so they could have it on the wall for the baby to see as he grew up.  They chose the Photograph of Floyd with this big OLE grin on his face enjoying the sunshine. Jennifer was my absolute favorite two year old way back then before I had any children of my own and it was a special treat to be a part of her life again.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nap Time For Ricco: Tricolored Light Beagle

Ricco is my brothers dog and he was delighted I choose to paint him one day when I had a rare break between commissions. My brother was really happy I wanted to take Ricco to some art shows and let him be a star.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Posing With His Dogs: Painting from an old black and white photograph.

This was a gift I did for my mom and it made her very happy today. Her father died when she was a teenager and she was the apple of his eye. She told me stories of how protective the two dogs Queen and Belle were when she was growing up. My mother is very stoic - up til today I rarely have seen her get emotional. She kept saying it was like he was in the room with her. Then I realized, all these years all she had was a few small black and white grainy, faded photos of him. Seeing him in color on a 18 x 24 inch canvas brought him back to her. I never realized how powerful it could be to put color into her world in this way. Over and over she called me the next dew months telling how he greeted her each morning and how much it changed her to have him in the room with her. She felt at home for the first time in a long time... in a home she had lived in for over 30 years.