Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dr. Ray does the Happy Dance

 My client Dr. Ray is doing the Happy Dance with his portrait.  Which is a huge sigh of relief for me. You work so very hard on portraits and you want your customers to be happy. Dr. Ray had a very specific wish list for his portrait.

 He didn't want an ordinary soft lines portrait.
 He wanted:
  • a chunky and kind-of-fractured style
  • his stoner eyes and his laugh lines to show,
  •  his sunglasses on (how are you supposed to see his laugh lines?)
  •  a smirk-y smile, even though I told him teeth in a portrait can look cheesy
  • his hair to look unkempt
We spent a lot of time together to make sure we got it right. He loved it and best of all his wife had tears of joy, which is good, cause it was a surprise gift to her from him.
Dr. Ray
acrylic on canvas
©Maggie Ruley 2015
P.S. I think I repainted the mouth about 15 times.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Honor your talent

Fleming St in Bloom
oil on canvas
©Maggie Ruley 2015

 I had some customers in the studio the other day who expressed great surprise that I wouldn't be in the studio on Wednesday because I would be in a painting class.  Why would I chose to take a class when I have a certain skill level and a great place to use those skills?  Good question. The answer is because one way I can honor my talent, honor my customers and fans, and honor my students (Yeah, that's right, I teach classes now-more on that another time) is to be always in a state of learning.  Most often I learn from my mistakes, but it's really great to learn from other artists. So, in the month of April, I have been taking a plein air oil painting class from Mike Rooney.  Mike is from North Carolina, spends winters painting in Key West and part of the summer painting in Cape Cod and Maine.

 It's lovely this time of year in Key West and the Bougainvillea in morning sunlight was right in my own Fleming St. neighborhood was irresistible.

Using oil paints is not my greatest skill set, that makes this class a challenge. We don't get to be better painters doing the things we are good at over and over. Mike does a great job of giving us instruction and I'm enjoying the class. Here is his painting set up, simple and functional, along with his system of finding correct values in sun and shadow.

On a final note I want to thank everyone who stuck by me when my blog was hacked and those of you who have patiently waited for me to decide it was safe to post again.  You are the best! And I want to thank this blog that helped me solve the problem.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Morning ritual

Here in Key West, our daily paper, the Key West Citizen, is a morning paper.  Our coffee of choice is Cafe Bustelo. I had sunflowers leftover from my painting class and thought they'd look pretty in the can. Plus I needed some still life practice.  

Here is the progression of the painting:
The initial block in is on a blue violet ground.

The major shapes are blocked in, but there are still corrections to make.

The finished painting.
Morning Ritual
acrylic 14" x 11'
©Maggie Ruley 2015

The set up.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Holidays

Hello Dear Friends

Inside "blog land" I am happy to report that everything is warm and fuzzy.  I made some security updates to my blog and for the last month it has been free of "icky content".  So today I am declaring my blog back up and running. And you will be hearing from me again.

Outside in the "real world" there is a whole lot of "icky" going on.  So from the bottom of my heart I am wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.

And my wish for the world is PEACE and Joy today and all days.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Crazy eyed

The fact that my blog has been hacked it making me crazy.  Anybody have any ideas how to stop this?  Google isn't being very helpful.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bright island days

Bright Island Day
20" x 24"
©Maggie Ruley 2014
giclee prints available
giclee prices
This cute little side-by-side painting was in progress when a friend asked if it could have a cat element added to it.  She sent me photos of her cats and here they are added  to the scene.  Can you find Rocky and Puck?
This is what my first house in Key West was like.  The front door went straight through to the back door.  The kitchen was in the back hall area. It was cute, but no AC.  It was on Whitehead St.
Small Print.  I have a spammer putting inappropriate content on my blog.  I am taking steps to get rid of them. So far I have not had much success.  Regrets and apologies to all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

oldie but goodie

Giclee prints available

Monday, November 3, 2014

25 Words or less

Key West in 25 words or less

  • Sunny Skies
  • Ocean Views
  • Palm Trees and Flowers
  • Cute Cottages
  • Bike to Anywhere
  • And a fondness for critters

Pearl Street Morning
24 x 20 acrylic on canvas
SOLD giclee prints available
©Maggie Ruley 2014
giclee prices

A very nice couple came into the studio while I was working on this piece and bought it before it was finished.  They had one request. After it was finished and photographed would I add the name of a special dog on the gate, "Rosie".  So after it had been all set up for reproductions the way you see it here, I added "Rosie" in small letters at the bottom of the gate. Here is the lovely note I received from them.

hi Maggie, got your painting Friday absolutely wonderful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
you added Rosie and it looked perfect!! thank you so much you are such a pleasure to work with
  thanks again !!
That note made my day.  I hope you all have a wonderful day today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Up at dawn

Or we could title this ..........What I Learned yesterday.

Sign out of your blog account when you are not using it. There are greedy people out there and your friends are worth the extra effort.

And don't let your email sender do it automatically. Just in case some one put crud on your blog.

Anyway,  this is the only kind of male fowl you will ever get information about from me.  And it seems appropriate to call him..............Mister Big

Some days bring you trouble but all you can do is carry on and be grateful for your understanding friends.

Thank you,

Monday, October 27, 2014


My account sent you spam this morning.  Huge regrets. Passwords have been changed.  Interesting to note I got that same info as an email from someone else this morning

Again, BIG apologies,

Here is a pretty picture to look at.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Grand Finale

The hardest part of the 30 Day Challenge wasn't painting everyday it was finding something interesting to say every day. I'm speaking for myself of course, others might not find it a problem.
 I like to work in series and do the same subject in short bursts and then move on to the next thing.  For me a series seems to have its own life span and comes to a natural conclusion.
Grand Finale
Thanks again to Leslie Saeta and congrats to all the artists who participated.  And of course thanks to my readers.  See you in October.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sunset Tropicale

Ever notice how putting an E on the end of a word makes it more fabulous?
Royal + e = Royale
So in the spirit of "More Fabulous, Please"
Sunset Tropicale

Sunset Tropicale
11 x 14"
original oil on archival board
©Maggie Ruley 2014
Stop by my gallery to view this painting in person
933B Fleming Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
Note to e-mail readers:
To read this post in its original format click here

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pearl St. ~ Pam Hobbs ~ and more.

I have painted this cute little house on Pearl St. in the Meadows section of Key West many times.  It is a totally tricked out teeny tiny house with lots of little "cute-zees". Each time I paint it I change it up. This time I have added chickens and roosters.  And I have added a Pam Hobbs mailbox.  Pam is a friend and local artist. Her mailboxes are becoming  collector's items.  She doesn't do very many any more. Click on her name and the word mailboxes to see more of her work.
This version of the Pearl St cottage sold right off the easel the day after it was finished.  It needs a coat of varnish and then off it goes to Oklahoma.

Pearl Street Morning
24' x 20"
acrylic on canvas
$580 unframed
SOLD Giclee prints available
©Maggie Ruley 2014

Pearl Street Morning
©Maggie Ruley 2014
Pam Hobbs Mail box

Pam Hobbs Mail box

Friday, September 19, 2014

How I photography my work.

For the majority of artists the painting isn't finished when the signature is applied and the brushes are cleaned.  There are still chores to be done to get that painting out into the world and into someone's collection.  And photography is one of those tasks, (probably a better word than chore)

This painting is oil and wet and messy so paper is placed under it to protect the floor.  The photo is being taken with my iPad.

The photo is cropped to take away the distracting background.  I only leave the background around a painting if I want to show scale or some other relationship, on my easle, next to the supplies I am using, on a wall or in a room to show it hanging.

The photos above were taken with the lights on -daylight flourescent bulbs.  The photo below was taken with the lights off.  Notice the shine of the wet paint is gone and the colors are cooler.

A Hint of Fall
oil on canvas
11' x 14"
© Maggie Ruley 2014
There are, of course, other ways to do photographs.  And there are a number of professional kits you can purchase to help you.  This is just the system I use and for now it works for me.
I continue on with the 30 day painting challenge.  Painting every day is not the challenge.  The posting every day is.
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