Friday, March 28, 2014


Today I will give everyone a break from my art and share a painting from another Renzulli - Sara Jo, my very talented daughter.

Sara's painting
Oil on canvas

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


For a slight change of pace today we will look at a barn that has been converted to a playhouse in Bucks County PA.  I made the executive decision that it qualifies at a "barn of the day".  I consider it one of my best watercolor paintings.

Bucks Co. Playhouse

Monday, March 24, 2014


We go from yesterday's thumbnail sketches to today's large canvas - Somewhere Else.

Acrylic on canvas

Prints of this scene, as well as some of the other "barns of the day" are available on the following website -

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pastels and the clay mono type - the process


The clay mono-type is a variation of the traditional mono-type techniqu

A slab of stoneware clay 3/4 to 1 inch thick is pressed into a firm framed base mounted on a solid support table or bench.  The surface is smoothed and leveled with the edges of the frame and is allowed to dry overnight to a “leather hard” consistency.  There is no “correct” size: it can be small and portable or permanently situated in the studio.  This clay base will act as the “plate” in the creation of the monotype.  My current clay plate is 30x40” and was created in 2002.  By keeping it covered with wet paper and plastic drapes it will last indefinitely.

Mixing water and kaolin powder in a blender to a light pancake batter consistency produces liquid clay known as slip; several coats are then brushed onto the clay slab.  This slip also becomes the “paint” by the addition of pure pigments, dry or liquid, and is used to create the image by its application to the clay slab.  The final result is a flat slab of clay in which the image is imbedded. 

clay plate with completed image

A moistened support, fabric or paper, is placed on top of the clay and pressure is applied using a roller or brayer.  The support becomes impregnated with a thin layer of the clay resulting in a transfer of the image.

The clay print
The resulting one of kind images have characteristics unlike those produced by any other method.  The variety of techniques that can be used in this process is limited only by the imagination and curiosity of the artist.

All the materials used in this process are archival and the pigments share the same light fastness as other tradition pigments.  The finished print can be framed under glass, or given a protective coat of varnish and stretched over a canvas stretcher.

Because this process does not allow me to obtain the detail and the control I need for my architectural subjects I began adding pastels to the process.  At first they were used to enhance and refine the image, but later assumed a more primary role, with the clay print serving more as an under-painting or background.  When using pastels I create the print on a fabric ground, usually an industrial fabric called Reemay, or on Pellon interfacing, available at fabric stores. 

Tuscan landscape - pastel on clay mono type  12x32
 I also use the clay print as a background for mixed media drawings with ink, markers, and acrylic, as well as pastel. 
Greve in Tuscany - mixed media drawing on clay mono type


Sometimes the quick, small sketch says a lot more that a larger, more elaborate rendering of the subject.  Today's BOD will actually be three of these small sketches.

Sketch #1 ink and markers

Sketch #2  Pencil with pastel higglight

Sketch #3  pen, ink, and pastel

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Today we go back into the portfolio of pencil drawings for Barn #74, based on a McCracken Co. barn in need of some attention.

McCracken County Barn
Pencil  8x14

Friday, March 21, 2014


Barn 2
Pastel 20x30

This is the last of the numbered barn series, all created in my last few years in Maryland.      This is NOT the end of the barn of the day series - there are more barns to come.

As promised, the winner of Red Barn #3, for guessing the number of barns in this folly is Patti Pearson.  Her guess of 365 was the closest to the true total.

Red Barn #3

Monday, March 17, 2014

For the love of trains and the love of family

At  9 o’clock on an unseasonably cold, damp, late Sept. night the Rondinelli brothers. Danny and Joey, and I are sitting on the porch of a B&B in Cresson Pennsylvania, a small town in the west central part of the state, watching freight trains roll by in the chilling darkness.  We are yards away from the triple track mainline of the Norfolk & Southern RR where at least 3 trains an hour roll by - any less and the innkeeper will refund 50% of your room charge.  In the several hours we been sitting here there were more like 10-12 trains per hour.   Fortified by the Jim Beam in our plastic cups, which Danny so graciously kept full, we were actually enjoying ourselves, in spite of the miserable weather.

Danny and Joey are true rail-fans, and like many others, have been making an annual pilgrimage to the Station Inn, a former boarding house for railroad workers, converted to no nonsense Bed and Breakfast serving the boys who have never outgrown their love of trains.  I am a retired model railroader and do not consider myself a railroad aficionada, but I enjoy spending time with my cousins, so I agreed to meet them in Cresson on my drive to Maryland from Paducah.  I arrived early in the afternoon as we had planned.  When it was obvious the cousins were going to be late, I checked into the room they had reserved, a single room with a bath and 3 small cots.  I immediately laid claim on what I considered the best of the three, and went downstairs to wait.  A light rein was falling with unseasonably cold temperatures, and unfortunately the cloths I packed were not up to the task.  A brief walk around the neighborhood revealed several tap rooms, a small food market, and a liquor store, all rather depressing.  I returned to the Inn and watched the trains rumble by while I waited for the Rondinelli boys.  I quickly realized that all of trains soon began looking like the one that came before.  The only difference was the direction they were traveling and whether there were one, two, or three locomotives doing the work.  Of course the serious train watchers knew better; they would listen to the communications between the engineers and the traffic controllers on special radios, in addition to the monitor the Inn provided over a loud speaker.  This was some serious stuff to them.

Late in the afternoon the brothers arrived – I don’t remember the reason they gave for being so late but I don’t think it impressed me.  They checked in and we set out to find dinner.  We stopped at the first taproom we saw, ordered drinks and asked to see the menu.  The drinks were satisfactory, but the menu came nowhere close to meeting our high culinary standards.  After two drinks we moved on and had a similar experience at the next stop, 2 drinks, nixed the menu, and moved on.  On our third stop we found the mother lode.  We enjoyed an elegant dinner of hot wings, Jalapeno Pepper Poppers, fried clams, and deep-fried mushrooms, Cauliflower, and cheese, all washed down with assorted adult beverages.  We had our standards and we proudly stuck to them.

Fortunately, all of this took place within 2-3 blocks of our B&B, so driving was unnecessary.   We made our way back to the Inn, stopping at the local spirits shop where Danny purchased an economy size bottle of Jim Beam.  Thus fortified, we bundled up and made our way to the porch for some very serious train watching.  What we do for family!

The highlight of our stay was the Inn’s famous breakfast of pancake and eggs.  The reputation of their breakfast is well deserved.


This painting goes back almost 15 years, before our move to Paducah.  It would be the first of a series of barns rendered in pastel with stylized geometric backgrounds, many of which have already been posted.

Barn #1

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I just realized how crazy this Barn of The Day posting is.  The last thing I need now is another graphic reminder of how fast the days are going by; what seems like yesterday is already 67 days ago.

But the tiger in me will not allow me to falter, and I will move ahead until every last barn of mine has been posted on this blog.  On the few occasions when I post a newly created piece I will identify it as such.

A Cecil Co Barn (Maryland)
pencil - 9x12

Thursday, March 13, 2014


 Buried somewhere in the pages of my journal is a quote that reads something like this: never was a man so unafraid of his own destiny.  I don’t know if I can fully describe the incredible impact those few words had on me.  At the time I was struggling with depression as I confronted a growing force pulling my life into a new and totally unexpected direction.

Until that moment I had always considered destiny to be the purview of great historical figures accomplishing grand deeds, real or fictional.  Destiny was reserved for these men and women, and not intended for those of us living in the every day world out of the spotlight of such greatness.  I suddenly realized that notion was wrong; everyone has their own personal destiny, and looking at my struggles in that light enabled me to move forward.  It validated the feelings and desires that were causing so much stress and tension in my life and affirmed my commitment to the journey.  I had my own destiny to claim.

I believe that somewhere, deep in our conscious and unconscious mind, there exists a “center” that defines who we are.  It provides the basic material from which we create ourselves and to a large extent determines our personality traits and our basic psychological patterns of behavior.  This center contains the seeds of what we can become, depending on the circumstances of our life.  I think of it as my soul, a mystical entity detached from anything physical, in spite of the arguments from the neuroscientists.  It is a concept that helps me to understand my life and guide my behavior.  This is where my destiny was born, and once recognized and acknowledged, I was given the opportunity to act on it or ignore it.

For those who are uncomfortable with the idea of a soul, substitute psyche, or center.  Theists can insert God somewhere in this process.  It doesn’t matter what it is called or why it exists.  That basic core of our humanness is there for each of us.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Yes, that is a square you see
Behind barn number 63

Barn with Gray Square

Monday, March 10, 2014


Some barns are large,
Some barns are small,
Some barns are hardly a barn at all.

Sad Remains
Acrylic 36x36"

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I thought we could celebrate this 60th day of "barning" with a McCracken County barn rendered with graphite in this B&W drawing from the Barns & Farms show several years ago.

McCracken County Barn
Pencil on paper

I don't know why I don't do more of these...they are so much fun to do.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Going back into the "miniatures" file for today's barn.  This is another one of my favorites from that series.

A Littler Red Barn

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014


Sticking to the "5" theme, Barn #55 is Barn 5.

Barn 5
Pastel 20x20

This will be added to my new website at Fine Art America

Sunday, March 2, 2014



New Website

Prints of my artwork, as well as some originals, are now available through my new website with Fine Art America  My original website, is still active.)  It is now possible to obtain prints - in a variety sizes - of paintings that are no longer available.

The website is now active, but remains a work in progress; I have been gradually adding images and will continue to do so.

The work is arranged by categories in separate galleries, with some paintings listed in more than one gallery.

If there is a particular painting that you are interested in feel free to contact me and I will see if it can be added to the site.


Small Red Barn
Pastel  15x20

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Win today's Barn of the Day

At the start of this Barn a Day folly I went through my inventory file and counted all of the paintings and drawing that I recorded over the years.  That number is now locked away in a secret place where nothing goes and nothing head.

The person who can guess that number, or whose guess comes closest to the number will win today's barn.

Red Barn 3
One guess per person
Email your guess to me at -
Winner will be announced on the first day of spring - March 20th.