New Process… Oil and Cold Wax

Noir et Blanc in 6, Mixed Media, 6×6


I haven’t forgotten you.  I’ve been painting daily.  In fact, I am adding a new process to my repertoire…  I’ve been painting with oil and cold wax (don’t confuse it with encaustic, it’s not the same).  I start on canvas or panel with an acrylic layer to which I add an oil layer followed with cold wax.  I then repeat with more layers of oil and the wax.  For Noir et Blanc in 6, I added charcoal powder and graphite powder.


Summertime is a busy time.   In addition to busyness in the studio, preparing for contests and shows, I’ve had some chores outside and taken a couple of trips back to the Midwest to see two of my kids and their families, as well as my nephew and his extended family.  We enjoyed having my daughter and her husband visit Father’s day week-end.  Don’t forget that I’m a tennis fan and have watched the French Open and Wimbledon on the Tennis Channel. To top all that off, I’ve been dealing with recurring aches and pains.


BREAKING NEWS:  In the near future, I will be videotaping myself painting.  I’m excited and hope you look forward to these visual Studio Scoops.  Stay tuned!


“Three wishes, to be exact.  And ixnay on the wishing for more wishes.  That’s it.  Three.  Uno, does, tres.  No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.”  -The Genie, Disney’s “Aladdin”



5 Steps to Seeing Abstract Paintings


Talk to Toastmasters Club.

This morning, I gave an art talk in which I presented a process for “seeing abstract paintings.” This is closely related to an article I wrote and published two months ago, “Art Does Not Speak for Itself – It’s Our Job As Artists.”  In both the talk and the articles, I asked  “Have you ever heard an artist respond that his or her art speaks for itself?”  C’mon, art does not speak for itself…  it’s our responsibility as artists to speak about our art.


Wannabe Collector.

Have you ever heard a wannabe collector view an abstract painting and state, “It doesn’t speak to me, and it won’t match the couch.”  Duh!  The wannabe collector really means he or she doesn’t like the piece or cannot afford it.  He or she doesn’t want to be a collector very bad.  A painting doesn’t have to match the couch.  I believe in mixing styles and decor and colors.  It makes it more interesting.



I recently studied with another artist who insisted I needed to develop stories or at least statements about each of my paintings.  He insisted it had to be more than eye candy, and he repeatedly asked “What’s it all about?  What’s it all about?”  I had embarrassed myself at a garden show when a collector asked me to tell him about my art and I stumbled over my tongue.


Need to be More Articulate.

I expressed in my talk that I need to become more articulate.  I may have answers but I need to verbalize those answers in an unrehearsed manner.  I involved my audience as I presented an interactive Role Play – 5 Steps to Seeing Abstract Paintings.

  1. My audience became my viewers or wannabe collectors as they were ushered into my studio to select a painting.
  2. I showed them two paintings of which they knew nothing, not eve the titles.
  3. I asked them to view each piece with an open mind, avoiding any negative statements such as “Any 5-year-old could do that.”  I encouraged them to allow themselves to have an emotional journey with each piece.
  4. After several minutes, I revealed the titles.
  5. I then fielded questions about the paintings and eventually shared the meaning “Under the Paint” as to really “Seeing Abstract Paintings.”

This activity accomplished two things: it gave the wannabe collectors a process to “Seeing Abstract Paintings” and it boosted my confidence in my ability to speak about my artwork.


The painting at the beginning of this article was one of those presented.  Here is the second:



Painting a Super-Series

The Quiddity Series of 5 grew to four series, hence a Super-Series

quiddityQuiddity, Acrylic & Resin, 24×24.  A series of five paintings started with this painting, Quiddity.  By the way, “Quiddity” means “the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing.”

To call a group of paintings a series, it should have from three to five paintings in the group.  The Quiddity series actually has five paintings.  I did not, however, stop with just this one series; I created three more… you might call the four series together a super series.

I created the second series as a daily painting campaign to attract email followers, “75 Paintings in 75 Days.”  The series became the “MiniQuids”(a word I coined).  I enjoyed it so much that I continued painting past the original 75.  I believe I stopped at 94.  I was very fortunate to have sold over forty.  Pictured here are a few of those still available:


MiniQuids 58, 94, and 8, Acrylic on 8×8 Canvas

Next came the daily painting series, “29 Paintings in 29 Days.”  This one became the “Kwid” series (another word I coined).  The paintings in the series are again acrylic and are 10x10x1.5.  Several are still available:


Kwids 23 & 27

Finally, the MaxiQuids have been painted at random.  There are only four in the series.  They are 12×12’s on canvas.

MaxiQuid 4

I enjoy challenging myself with new and ever-changing goals.  Challenges are invigorating and inspiring.  Now, I am doing “60 Paintings in 60 Days,” all on paper.  You can view the MiniQuids, Kwids, and MaxiQuids on my website under Artwork, go to To view the paintings on paper, please subscribe to my newsletter, also through my website under “Studio News.”

Mom Was a Belly Dancer

Mom became a belly dancer in her late 60’s.




Mom was a belly dancer.  Unfortunately, I do not have any good pictures of her in her costume.  She had to be in her late 60’s.  She had taken it up prior to my Dad’s death, as exercise or so she claimed.  She became such a good dancer that she taught it for a short time.  Hmmm, I wonder if she danced to seduce Dad.  We’ll never know.

I don’t recall when she gave it up.  I like to think if she had continued, her body would have resisted Alzheimer’s and she would have had a better quality of life.  In the painting of Mom above, I wanted to capture her in this unlikely pose.  She was probably in the fourth state of Alzheimer’s – Confusion.  I created an unrealistic floor pattern to mimic that state of confusion.  Green was her favorite color most of her life and much later she changed to pink.  At this time, she still knew me.

Since Mom lived in Kansas and me in Utah, we didn’t see one another often.  Maybe twice a  year.  When visiting one summer, we had the following conversation:

Mom:  “You look like a Hardesty.”

Me: “I am a Hardesty.”

Mom:  “Who’s your mother.”

Me:  “You are Mom.”

Mom:  “Oh, I don’t have a son.”

Sad?  Of course, but at the same time I took it with a grain of salt.  I had to laugh at the absurdity of the moment, and that’s all it was…  a moment.

In 2010 shortly before her death, we visited Mom after she had entered the Alzheimer’s unit of a nursing home.  As I entered that facility, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Mom was sitting in a chair, and she was slumping to her left as she was being spoon-fed. Tears filled my eyes. Where was my Mom? I wanted to remember her when she became a belly dancer in her sixties.

I was angry! Alzheimer’s/dementia had stolen the soul of my loving and caring mother. On my return trip to my Utah home, I began to visualize how I could communicate my anger via an abstract canvas. The subsequent painting became “Crescendo to Rage.”


“Crescendo to Rage,” Mixed Media, 36×36

I had not thought much about Alzheimer’s other than it being a horrible disease, and I feared I might inherit the gene (good so far). I began to visualize how I could portray this disease on canvas. My research took me to anatomical images of healthy and diseased brains and brain cells. The “Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s” also grabbed my attention. What would these seven stages look like on seven related panels as one artwork? On paper, I sketched and painted my basic composition, a deconstructed brain. This became the basis for all seven panels which I transferred to 20×10 panels. The series is meant for the viewer to ponder the dreadful nature of this disease, from normal to advanced Alzheimer’s.


“7 Stages of Alzheimer’s,” Acrylic, 20×70 

Normal – Forgetfulness – Memory – Confusion – Disorientation – Sundowning – Severe