Denali caribou 8″ x 10″

The driver of our tour bus shouted “Caribou ahead!” and we all reached for our cameras!  What a stroke of luck that I was sitting on the left side of the bus and had THE perfect view as the beast ambled by!  Denali caribou



10 Alaska sketches

same caribou -- antlers are a challenge to draw!
caribou — antlers are a challenge to draw!
abstract spruce forest
abstract spruce forest
ridge line in fog and rain - looks a bit like watercolor but is really water soluble graphite
ridge line in fog and rain -water soluble graphite which looks like watercolor a bit.
the top of a glacier
the top of a glacier
a glacier
another glacier
a small glacier
a small vertical glacier — these glaciers are receding fast as I’m sure you already know.
a lone tree -- there were lots of puffins flying around here, too!
a lone tree on a cliff–  lots of puffins flying around here, too, but I couldn’t draw them!
sled dog in training
sled dog in training
moose -- a weird animal to draw -- trying NOT to make it look like a horse!

moose skull arch 9″ x 12″

A very quick sketch.  I’m not sure how to depict these antlers – they are so interwoven.  This was my favorite thing in Fairbanks.  I just did not find the town that interesting and we were sorry we spent an extra night there before meeting up with our group to begin the trip.  Our hotel was a little ways outside of town and not near anything in walking distance.  We had to take the hotel shuttle everywhere.  The driver was very nice but, a bit down on the place and said that alcoholism is a real problem.  He was not a native, though, and I can see where winter would drive you crazy in this place.  We had long days there — it didn’t get dark until 11 PM!  If you talked to the shuttle driver who was native, you got rave reviews for the place.  I still don’t understand how they survive the cold and dark of winter, though.

moose skull arch

me and the mooses -- we did get to see some live ones, too.
Yours truly doing an awesome moose impression : )  There may be caribou antlers here, too, not sure.

Alaska Wilderness Lodge 9″ x 12″

My husband and I had a wonderful trip to Alaska.  I’ve been doing a lot of new paintings based on photos I took there.

wilderness lodge

Initial block in



A few stages of the painting.


The whole study was done in about an hour.  The usual palette was used and the gessobord was coated with a dilute mixture of cadmium vermillion and sevres blue (which was dry before I began the painting).  This gives a nice warm undertone that shows through.

wilderness lodge

Kenai Riverside Lodge
Kenai Riverside Lodge

walk in the park 9″ x 12″

walk in the parkYesterday’s painting with photo used, my set up in the studio, and stages of the painting.

Palette: the usual (cad. yel. lt., cad. red verm., quin. mag., ultra blue, sevres blue, burnt umber, tit. zn. white)

Total time: about 1 1/4 hr.










walk in the park

prairie and tree at dusk 6″ x 6″

old oak

Based on a photo of a single tree (not sure what kind) in the middle of the prairie (see photo below).  The sky is from my imagination.    The same palette as yesterday was used.  We had a glorious afternoon hiking in this preserve last weekend : )


by the huge oaks 6″ x 6″

big oaks

palette: cadmium yellow light, quinacridone magenta, cadmium red vermillion, ultramarine blue,  sevres blue and white.  Initial warm tone of vermillion plus some sevres blue (applied as a wash).  This one was not quick like yesterday’s.  I had to scrape a lot off at one point because I was painting too many details.

red Hobie cat 6″ x 6″

red Hobie cat

oil on archival panel

© Anita C. Miller 2013

After spending an hour on this, the painting was accurate, but lacked movement.   So, I started taking “swipes” at it pretty much out of desperation to make something happen.  I think it has some energy to it now, so I’m happy.

red sails

afternoon sail 6″ x 6″

afternoon sailoil on archival panel

© Anita C. Miller 2013

I’m continuing to experiment with color (a different palette) and brushes.  Palette used: cadmium yellow light, cadmium red vermillion, quinacridone magenta, ultramarine blue, sevres blue and zinc titanium white.  Painted alla prima in about 45 minutes.   The brushes used are my new Silver Bristlon (brights) which I am loving.

Also, before starting the painting, I brushed a thin warm color over the entire panel, then wiped most of it off.  This toned the surface so that I wasn’t painting on white.  I left some of this color show through on the sails and the right side of the hull.

sailing in the shadows 6″ x 6″


oil on archival panel

© Anita C. Miller 2013


Yesterday’s photo of Trump Tower reflecting the afternoon sun inspired this little painting.  I painted only a very small part of the photo and took  some liberties — which is pretty much always the case : )

Palette used:  titanium zinc white, cadmium yellow light, cadmium red vermillion, quinacridone magenta, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue and graphite grey mixed with some white to make a light cool grey.

red spinnaker 6″ x 6″

red spinnaker

oil on archival panel

© Anita C. Miller 2013


All of a sudden I’m painting with lots more color and using thicker paint.  I can’t really explain why except it truly feels like summer and things should be more colorful.  I’m also using some new synthetic bristle brushes which I like a lot.  They’re Silver Bristlon (brights) in various sizes and I got them online from Dick Blick.  

yellow boat – late afternoon light 9″ x 12″

yellow boat

oil on archival panel

© Anita C. Miller 2013


Happy 4th everyone!

Later, when it gets dark, we’ll go to the lakefront

and watch the fireworks which are shot from a barge.


I loved using several blues here.

Colors used:  all the Portland greys, graphite grey, sevres blue, ultramarine blue,

cadmium yellow deep, rose dore, and zinc titanium white.

I started by brushing a light glaze of Portland grey light over the

entire panel, then painted into the glaze with the other colors

alla prima and finished in under an hour.

I tried to not blend the brushwork too much in order

to keep it fresh and moving.

bright red x 2

red sailboarder

“Red Sailboard”, oil on archival panel, 5″ x 5″


red buoy

“The Red Buoy”, oil on archival panel, 6″ x 6″


The three sailboats were practicing turns around a buoy off of

Northwestern University (where there is a sailing club).

I had fun putting touches of very bright red into these monochromes.

Green Sea Turtle ~ 6″ x 6″

green sea turtle

oil on archival panel

© Anita C. Miller 2013


When my husband and I visited Oahu recently, this gorgeous Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle came up on the beach.  We were about the first people to see him and I got a few photos before the naturalist roped off the area.  It was interesting to learn that this particular turtle often comes ashore to rest on this beach.  Such a special moment to see this creature in the wild!

prairie ~ 5″ x 5″


oil on archival panel (Gessobord)  5″ x 5″ x 1/8″, unframed

© Anita C. Miller


I liked putting in the texture for the grasses and scraped through the paint (sgraffito) for added texture.  The sky, on the other hand, is quite smooth.