Archive for the ‘Acrylics’ Category

I have two exhibits coming up in September. Kind of odd, since I haven’t been doing much exhibiting the last couple of years. But that’s another story……


I’m really excited about both of these opportunities. The first one is at The Gallery at WREN (Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) in Bethlehem, NH. I’m exhibiting with two other NH artist friends, Rosemary Conroy and Ann Trainor Dominque. Although I’ve known both Rosemary and Ann a long time, this is our first group exhibit. “Color Love – 3 Artists, 3 Visions” will run from September 7th through October 1st. Our artists’ reception is Friday, September 7th from 5 to 7pm.

And let me tell you, it’s all about the color! There will be a roomful of vibrant color for you to check out. And in quite a range of sizes. I can pretty much guarantee that my pieces are the smallest, most of them ranging from 4 inches square to 8 inches square, the perfect size to tuck a bit of color and inspiration into a corner, a bookcase, or a nightstand. Ann and Rosemary will both have larger pieces, strong enough to hold the focus of your room. I think this is going to be an incredible exhibit with lots to offer both buyers and viewers.

Come on the evening of the 7th to meet the artists or come later in the show when it might be a bit quieter.


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First week of the month and it’s changeover time at a lot of galleries. New Hampshire Art Association is no exception. On Tuesday, I joined about 6 other artists to hang Prints of the Year and also repaint and rehang the Small Works Gallery. (OK. I didn’t help with the painting, but I helped with the rest.)

Because of the rather nasty winter weather, the reception has been postponed until next Friday. When you go to the gallery, you’ll find the main galleries filled with prints from some of the best print makers in the state. Parker Potter’s Prints of the Year includes all manner of the printmakers art – wood cuts, silk screens, monoprints, etchings, and various combinations. You’ll find work by Don Gorvett, William Scolere, Kate Higley, Victoria Ellbroch, Scott Schnepf, and many others.

The East Gallery is full of lovely black and white photos by the Seacoast Photo Group. And the South Gallery will have Carol Van Loon’s black and white photos of Barns.

The Small Works Gallery is now repainted and rehung with new work! So check it out.

You’ll find two small pieces of mine on the very far wall of the Small Works Gallery. (That is unless they moved them after I left on Tuesday.)

These are two pieces from my Shelter Series. This series started years ago with some very small paintings with a stylized house image. Some of these initial paintings turned into hand painted cards that were sold to benefit the York County Shelter Program. Hence the name – Shelter Series. Through an event that I ran for years at the Notre Dame Spiritual Center in Alfred, ME, I began a relationship with the shelter program and helped to raise money for their food pantry.



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The different framework of these pieces is causing me to rethink how I’ll structure these paintings. What I was doing on the earlier pieces doesn’t seem like it will work on these, so I’m looking for other ideas. For this reason, the process is going a bit slower than I would like.

I miss the rhythm from those other pieces, but I like the more focused and colorful look of these. I’m hoping this will all work out. Time will tell.

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It’s time to get my 6 x 6 panels ready for our annual 6 x 6 exhibition and sale. The exhibit starts the first of November, but the work needs to be delivered shortly.

I thought you might like a sneak peek at the process. We all use the same panels – 6″ x 6″ MDF with a key-hole slot on the back. After prepping the surface, I painted the panels with a couple of coats of white acrylic paint.

And then I start to glue on pieces of paper – newspaper, phone book pages, pieces torn from damaged books, along with my normal selection of bits & pieces of discarded painting pieces.

To continue with the social media idea and to keep in mind the shape of the panel, I started with cutouts shaped like a generic icon (of a woman’s head) similar to what you sometimes see displayed when a user hasn’t provided a profile picture. These were glued onto a rectangular shaped colored background.

The initial pieces look like this –

I’ll be adding more Work-In-Progress shots as these paintings develop.


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Abstractions 2015 is the next exhibit at the Arts League of Lowell, ALL. This is an open juried show.

I have a soft spot for this exhibit, because this is how I came to know ALL. I think I’ve been in this exhibit 2 or maybe even 3 times in the past. Hopefully, at least one of my pieces will make the cut. (I wish I had 3 of the new series to submit, but I didn’t get them completed in time to be framed. )

These are the pieces. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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My current “What If” assignment is to take the very simple and tiny farm paintings and make them bigger. I must admit to having mixed results with this.

My first attempt started with MDF panels that are 6″ x 6″. I thought I might try just going slightly larger. These pieces are only about 4 times the size of the original tiny paintings.

The painting on the left is one of the tiny paintings I started with. The one on the right is the slightly larger version done in acrylic & collage painted on an MDF panel. I think this worked well. The feel of the piece is similar, which is surprising considering the differences in materials.

My second attempt wasn’t as successful.

Again, the piece on the left a sample of the mini paintings. These were done on watercolor paper, with just watercolor and pencil as embellishment. The piece on the right was my attempt to scale this up – just a bit. I really don’t care for the new version. A large part of the problem is the medium. I just couldn’t get that light, almost sketch like feel, using acrylic on panel. Maybe I should say that I didn’t get that feel. Perhaps if I tried again, I’d be more successful.

Right now, I’m going to view it as unsuccessful and move forward. I may try again at a later date, but I think the difference in both medium and support is the real challenge here.


I’ve been working on a couple of other ideas which I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks.




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As I explore the house theme for my “Shelter’ series, I don’t seem to be on a linear path. The work keeps bouncing around from idea to idea, back and forth from funky to sophisticated.

I’ve looked at this piece a lot and have finally decided to declare it done. Even though it’s very different from the other pieces that were started at the same time, I like it and appreciate its relative simplicity. It has no collage added, but the interest is in the shapes and the subtleties of texture within the shapes.

It’ll be interesting to see if there are more of these by the end of the series.


Ethel Hills - Shelter #11 - Acrylic on Panel - 7" x 5"

Ethel Hills – Shelter #11 – Acrylic on Panel – 7″ x 5″

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Here’s the latest in my Shelter Series. This one was a bit of a struggle, but I’m pleased with the way it turned out. I wish that I had the foresight to take pictures of some of these paintings as they changed. This one has at least two complete paintings underneath the final version.

Each of these 7″ x 5″ paintings started out as a relatively straight forward line drawing filled in with acrylic paint. Each time, something was missing. Most of them have ended up with either a little bit or a lot of collage added. It’s been interesting watching these evolve. I must admit that these have taken way longer than they should have. (At least it seems that way.)

Ethel Hills - Shelter #12 - Mixed Media on Panel - 7" x 5"

Ethel Hills – Shelter #12 – Mixed Media on Panel – 7″ x 5″

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I apologize. I’ve gotten behind on my weekly posts. I hope to get back to my regular schedule by next week.

Today, I’ve got two paintings for you. I started these at the same time and have been having a very difficult time finishing them. I think I finally have it “under control”. These started out to be just acrylic paintings with no collage, but I ended up adding pieces of paper to pull the paintings together.

The simple line drawings that started these paintings didn’t seem to be enough, so I struggled with collage elements as well. I like the way they’ve come out even though they’re very different from my original idea. I’m pretty sure that Shelter #9 is done, but am not as confident that I’m finished with Shelter #10. Any thoughts??

These are #78 and #80 in my 80 painting challenge. (More on this later in the week.)

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The painting I have for you this week is part of a new series that I’m working on. The working title for the series and so far for the paintings is “Shelter”. The idea starting in a kind of straightforward manner, but it’s blossoming into something kind of interesting. Initially, it had to do with a charity I support, the York County Shelter Program, Inc. in York, ME. Now, I’m realizing it may be as much about emotional shelter and refuge as it is about physical shelter.

This is one of three paintings that I started almost 2 months ago. They’re all the same size – 7″ x 5″. Initially, they were just stylized houses, painted in solid colors. The background was also divided up into different color and value shapes. Once I got the initial painting done, they didn’t seem to be working. In other words, they were boring. In the end, I added bits of collage to enliven the work. This piece has just a bit of collage. So maybe it’s not quite as flat and boring as it was before. I toyed with the idea of putting a moon in the night sky, but decided against it. The light and texture in the door and window seemed to be enough. What do you think?

This is #75 of my 80 painting challenge. It looks like it’s going to be kind of close, but I think I’ll make it by the end of the year. More on that later.


Ethel Hills - Shelter #8 - Mixed Media on Panel - 7" x 5"

Ethel Hills – Shelter #8 – Mixed Media on Panel – 7″ x 5″

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