Sunday, December 15, 2013

Go Bigger with Auditions

Using canvases with an aspect ratio that lets me easily scale up is a practice that helps me audition ideas for larger works.  I painted several little 4x5 inch paintings that are great for determining color and design.  These little paintings are fun and quick to do and gives me plenty of options when I want to go bigger.  A 4x5 scales up well to an 8x10, 16x20, or 32x40 inch painting.  I couldn't decide which  worked best, so I'm posting two of them.  You can see them in my Etsy ShopClick here to see the first one that I call "Field Light".  It has already SOLD, but the second one that I call "Dawn." is still available.  Both began with an under painting of Alizarin Crimson.  I love the warmth provided by the under painting.  I haven't decided yet whether to go bigger with these little ideas, so I will keep auditioning with my little paintings.  Visit here or here or here to see more of my small landscape auditions and a few slightly larger paintings.

Hope you like my little auditions and will stop by again soon.  Original and fine art reproductions of my larger paintings are available on my website.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Photographing Art

When I photograph my paintings, I try to use natural light.  The best is a cloudy, overcast day.  The trouble is that this time of year it is hard to find just the right day.  It has been two weeks since the light has worked for me.  It has either been pouring rain, windy, or bright and sunny.  A nice overcast day was a long time coming.  Fortunately, the weather cooperated yesterday and I was able to capture the images of a dozen little paintings.  This painting is an original oil painting on a canvas panel, sized 4x5 inches.  It has already SOLD, but you can find more little paintings in my Etsy shop.  Please visit to see all of my little tropical fruit paintings and still life paintings.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Golden Light Pear Art

Yesterday was a great day!  Sometimes I stand in front of my easel and my mind is blank, but yesterday I was in the zone.  For five hours straight everything that came off my brush delighted me.  Now I have several little oil paintings drying in my studio.  As soon as they are dry, they will be listed for sale in my Etsy Shop.  In the meantime, I've listed this little 6x6 original.  When I created it, I was working on producing the warm light that reflected off the skin of the pears.  I rather like the effect and now that the oil paint is finally dry, it can be purchased.  Click here for a direct link.  I have quite a few other small originals that are still available.  Visit this link to view my original small fruit paintings.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Road Conditions

This is one of four paintings in a recent series I just completed that focuses on road conditions throughout the year.  This is an autumn road, a season of rain and slippery pavement.  Water trickles along the edge of the street and slops across the surface, providing plenty of opportunity for splashing.  The original painting is 6x6 inches and was created on a gallery canvas with professional grade acrylic paints.  The sides are painted black, so it can be hung with or without a frame.  The original can be purchased here and reproductions in larger sizes are available at this link

Monday, November 11, 2013

Last Light Twilight Landscape Painting

It has been a long time since I have painted on a black canvas.  I used to do it occasionally and the effects are often exciting, but it has been a long time since I've worked this way.  This acrylic landscape painting was created on a canvas prepared with black gesso. I wanted to increase the contrast between the sunny grass and trees and the dark and distant horizon.  It was fun and I like the effect. The painting is 9x12 inches on a gallery canvas.  Prints are available from my website.  Click here to view this painting on my website and select from fine art reproductions on paper, canvas, metal, or acrylic.  The print can also be framed and matted for a beautiful finishing. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Violet Shapes

A friend of mine gave me an African Violet that he grew from a leaf.  He said the plant from which he took the leaf had been around for years.  The plant was healthy and happy, so I was inspired to paint.  This is a bird's eye view of one of several African Violets that I now own.  The original painting was created on an 8x10 inch gallery canvas with oil paints.  I began with a red under painting and added layers of color to develop the image.  Reproduction prints are available for sale at my website, and when the paint dries on this I will probably sell it in my Etsy Shop with some of my other still life paintings.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pear Shadows Still Life Oil Painting

I'm still on a fruit binge.  I couldn't resist the color of these luscious pears.  They come home colored green, sit on my counter for a few days and turn a wonderful, sweet yellow.  A bowl of them in my studio while the wind whips and the rain pours reminds me that there is sunshine stored in these fabulous little orbs.  The paint isn't quite dry on the original, but when it does, the 8x10 inch oil painting will be listed for sale in my Etsy Shop where I sell my small originals.  Prints are also available from my website in sizes from 6x8 inches through 36x48 inches.  The entire collection of prints is available here.  I hope you will stop by.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fruit Binge

I'm on a binge; a binge for painting fruit.  I go through these stages where I want color.  Fresh fruit provides it for me.  Three red apples, one with only a half life left, were my subject for this original oil painting.  It was created on a 6x6 inch gallery canvas.  When it dries, I will sell the original in my Etsy Shop.  Reproduction prints on archival paper, canvas, acrylic, or metal are also available from my website in sizes up to 35x36 inches. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Color in the Fog

The weather is typical October--a lot of fog and damp air that makes people stay inside and drink tea. The cold has made me long for some bright color and sunshine.  It is these colorful little fruits that finally brought the sunshine home.  Sitting in my studio, painting bright colors make me feel a little more cheerful on the gray days of autumn.  This painting was created on a 6x6 inch gallery canvas.  When the paint is dry, I will list it for sale in my Etsy Shop.  Now it is available as a fine art reproduction from my website. I hope you will enjoy the bright colors like I did. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Loving the Landscape

My paintings seem to emerge in spurts. I will paint a still life paintings for weeks or months, then move to abstracts, then to landscapes, then cycle through again.  Right now it seems I am moving back to landscapes.  It isn't a conscience decision; it just seems to happen.

This painting was inspired by a trip to Central Oregon a couple of summers ago.  As part of the trip, my family and I ventured to Smith Rock State Park.  It is a very diverse landscape.  Rugged rocks and cliffs make up a portion of the park, but the Crooked River runs along the edge and provides enough water for Pine trees and grassy vegetation to make a life.  We started out hiking Misery Ridge, which is very aptly named.  It is steep, rocky, and not for people who get nervous with heights. But, once the summit is reached, there is a beautiful view and you can meander down to the River Trail.  This original painting was based on a view along the River Trail.  The painting is 8x10 inches, but larger reproduction prints are available for sale here along with some of my other Oregon landscape paintings.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In the Mist

As those of you who follow my blog know, I've been on an abstract kick for a while now.  What can I say, the paint takes me where it wants to go, but recently I moved back to oils and landscape painting.  This 11x14 inch painting was the result.  I was working on creating depth, trying to create that feeling of the background receding.  It was nice for a change.  Change seems to come around whether we are ready for it or not.  Reproduction prints of this painting are available for purchase here.  If you are interested in the original, contact me here by clicking on the contact link. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Swirling Spiral

A little color, a little swirl, and a lot of drippy paint--it was fun creating this squiggled swirl that twists and turns.  Fine art reproduction prints are available in sizes 6x8 inches to 24x30 inches for a room that needs some spark.  Click here to view availability of print types and a full range of sizes:  canvas prints, framed prints, art prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, and greeting cards.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Little City Life

Playing with lines, shapes, and colors resulted in this abstraction of a cityscape.  As I worked, I imagined early evening, just dark enough that the light from the interior broadcasts itself outside to passersby.  Some windows, a door, a little light from a basement are all in my imagination.  Canvas prints, framed prints, and fine art reproductions are available to purchase by visiting this link

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Abstract Painting August Ground Squall

Working on creating new art and photography skills has been my focus for the past couple of weeks.  This painting was inspired by some really hot days in August, those days when the sky no longer feels blue and the sun feels like it is melting.  I created the painting on a 9x12 inch canvas with acrylic paint and my goal, when photographing it, was to fill the view finder.  With the magic of digital photography, I was able to create an image that is reproducible up to size 35x40.  Reproductions are available from my website.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

After Midnight Abstract Painting

Today's work shows I'm back to using paint, my favorite media.  As I painted this abstract I kept hearing Eric Clapton's song, "After Midnight" playing in my head.  I think it means that this painting is about being young, having fun, and, as the lyrics go, "we're going to let in all hang down."  It was wonderful to slap some paint around, feel loose, easy, and comfortable.  Fine art prints, reproductions, and greeting cards are available for purchase from my website. Hope you will visit.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Creating Digital Art

Usually my media of choice is paint on canvas, but recently I've started to do a little bit of digital collage.  This image has quite a few layers, can't remember how many anymore, but it is a nice mix of some of my original painted work, some Photoshop brushes and Photoshop effects.  The background layer was developed from one of my original paintings as was the tree image.  I added more layers, filters, created some new brushes, arranged, and rearranged until I found a pleasing composition.  It was nice to be able to create art when I was traveling and paint wasn't an option.  I am offering fine art reproductions, posters, and greeting cards of this image.  Visit here for more information on purchasing and availability.  My paints will probably remain my favorite tool for creating art, but it was nice to take a little vacation and experiment with digital imagery.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Red Texture

Experimentation with texture continues!  I had a great time with this 16x20 inch abstract.  Crackle paste, fiber paste, gesso, fabric, and a whole lot of red paint worked together to create this painting that I call Morning Grit.  It is fresh like morning yet gritty like the streets.  Contact me if you are interested in purchasing the original painting; posters and fine art reproductions are also available for purchase.  More details are here.  You can visit Fine Art America for more red abstract paintings.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Earth and Sky and Modeling Paste

Earth, sky, and some modeling paste for texture were the inspiration for this abstract landscape painting.  I am fascinated by the sky, the way it changes, it's infinite size, but I also am curious about all those things underground:  rock, dirt, minerals, pebbles, stones, fragments, fossils, and moisture.  All of these ideas worked together to help me create this painting.  The original painting is 16x20 inches on canvas, but I have also made prints and greeting cards available to those who might be interested in placing this work in your home or office.  Visit here for more details on price, size, and reproduction options.  Visit my website or my Etsy shop to view some of my other works for sale.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Although my blog may appear as though my artistic life is slow, it has actually been a very busy summer.  I have done quite a bit of traveling and exploring new media.  Abstractions have garnered my attention and I've played a lot with acrylic paint and the incredible array of mediums available.  The abstract painting above is one that is appropriate for this back to school season because it celebrates handwriting in this digital age where young people no longer learn the art of using cursive.  You can read more about it at this link.  I've also been dabbling in digital art.  Visit again soon and you will be able to see more of my work. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Story of the Red Fish

This red rock fish emerged from my canvas late one evening as I was spattering paint.  It began with a big swath of color; some yellow, some blue, some red.  The paint dried and I stared at it for a long time.  I rotated the canvas and stared some more.  The yellow and blue and pooled together creating a deep, rich green, but the red just stood alone and grumbled.  The next morning the faint outline of a fish began to talk to me.  It said, "Give me an eye."  With a little help from my brush and some yellow paint, an eye appeared.  Then the spots, then the fins. Eventually the fish said, "Thank you," and I put my brush down.

Visit here to learn more about this abstract fish painting.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Temper Tantrum

Summer is quickly passing.  I hope everyone is enjoying the season, relaxing, and recharging their batteries.  I've been doing some of that myself.  In spite of the title, this painting is one that created a lot of pleasure as I painted it.  Splashes, swirls, and lots of color were fun and allowed my creativity to exert itself.  The original painting is 9x12 inches, but can also be purchased in larger sizes in the form of a canvas print, framed print, art print, acrylic print, or metal print.  The most exciting part for me is that I can also offer this painting in the form of an iphone case.  It makes a really cool iphone case. Click here to view purchase options.  Hope you continue to enjoy your summer and take some time to relax.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wolf Country

Today's painting came from my imagination, reading Jack London stories, and a childhood in the wild country of Alaska.  Using a palette knife, thick acrylic paint, and a lot of scratching around on the surface brought my idea to life.  I imagined hiking in the snow of a dark evergreen forest, with wolves lurking on the boundary  as I pass by.  In addition to greeting cards, reproductions prints are available for purchase on fine art paper, canvas, and as framed prints in a variety of sizes at my website.  I hope you will visit.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Morning

Sometimes planning just doesn't work.  I try to be organized when creating a painting.  Sketching thumbnails, creating value scales, and choosing appropriate colors in advance is the way things are supposed to work.  When I paint with oils, that seems to be the case, but when I paint with acrylic paints, some kind of crazy mind altering vibrations seem to take over.  I'll spend the morning planning, preparing, and doing all the things I know should happen for a successful painting.  Then I paint and it doesn't work.  I wipe out the work and try again.  It doesn't work.  I wipe it out.  Finally, I figure I've ruined a canvas, so it doesn't matter what goes on it.  I start to doodle with shapes and colors and something magical emerges.  This abstract painting is the result of one of those days when the muse took over and I quit thinking.  If you are interested in purchasing the original 8x10 acrylic painting, please contact me at This painting is also available as a canvas print or art print in a variety of sizes up to 23.5x30. Visit my website to make a purchase. Or click here.

Monday, June 10, 2013


One of the things that I really like to do when creating is to combine representational and non-representational work.  At the top of this canvas is a landscape, but the foreground became the underground where flower petals, mud, roots, and all kinds of structures took over.  It was fun to mixed it up with color, texture, and design.  The painting was created using acrylic paint on an 11x14 inch canvas.  Contact me at if you are interested in purchasing the original.  Greeting cards and fine art prints on canvas, paper, and metal can also be purchased here from my website.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spider and Fly

Today's painting is the final result of layers and layers of paint, glue, paper, paint, and ink.  There are quite a few different media below the surface of this painting.  It began as an experiment using glue to create texture.  I drew the outline of a dragonfly with black glue onto an 11x14 inch canvas.  Then I added some texture with clear glue.  Then I got the idea of adding color with torn paper  and collage.  Then I decided I didn't like the way the dragon fly was looking, so I painted the entire surface with red paint.  The outline of the dragonfly still was showing and the more I looked at him, the less I liked him.  My next step was to draw some random geometric shapes with black paint.  Using some additional paint in yellow, blue, and white, I painted in some of the geometric shapes.  Finally, I splattered some alcohol ink on top.  I think the dragonfly has been annihilated, his corpse is hiding under a web of all those layers of paint, paper, glue, and ink.  Now I'm satisfied.  I must have been a spider in my previous life.  Reproductions of this works are available from my website.  Fine art prints, canvas prints, metal prints, or greeting cards can be purchased in a variety of sizes.  If you are interested in owning the original, please contact me at

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Playing with Color; Playing with Texture

This is one of my recent adventures with color and texture.  It was fun blending colors, shapes, and texture.  When I started it wasn't clear where the painting was going to go or what would be created, but I am pleased to say that this is the result.  The work is 11x14 inches on a stretched canvas.  Fine art prints are available for purchase at my website, Nancy Merkle Fine Art.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Playing with Paint

Yesterday morning I played around with paint.  On an under painting of light blue, this prowling bear emerged.  I imaged him in a spring forest just after leaving his cave, looking for a meal.  The original 9x 12 inch painting was created in acrylics on a gallery canvas.  The original can be viewed or purchased here and greeting cards or fine art prints are available here

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Little Oak Trees

It has been a while since I've painted small.  Although that is what I used to do all the time, I've kind of drifted away until these little creations.  Each little oak tree painting was created in oil paints on a 4x4 inch canvas.  They are for sale at my Etsy Shop and make a cute little collection.  Visit the shop here, or view them closeup here, here, or here. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

As the Crow Flies

My experiments continue!  As I mentioned in my last post, I've been playing with textures.  This painting was created on a stretched canvas.  What I liked about the canvas was that it had been painted on before--many times.  It was a canvas that I experimented on and then just painted over again and again.  Eventually layers of texture built up.  I added some tissue paper, some gel medium, several more layers of paint with a final couple of layers of glaze.   Finally, I painted the silhouette of the crow.  I really like how the color and textures work together.  The original mixed media painting was 11x14 inches.  Fine art prints on either canvas or paper are available for purchase here

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sunsplash Abstract

 Today's painting is a new direction for me.  I've always loved color, but I've never done much experimentation with abstract images.  This image was created on paper with acrylic paints and modeling paste.  It was fun to play with textures and colors.  The painting is not on an archival surface as are most of my works, but it has been preserved digitally and art prints up to size 36x48 inches are available.  Don't worry, if you don't want something that big, you can also purchase it as a greeting card. Check out the sizes and prices here where you can also view a larger image of this fun abstraction.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

From Portland

Today's painting was inspired by recent travels from Washington State to Central Oregon.  As travelers move across the Columbia River into Oregon, Mount Hood begins to watch over all.  The original painting was created on an 8x10 inch canvas, but with the marvels of modern digital photography, fine art prints up to size 28x30 inches can be created.  To view the different sizes and surfaces on which this painting can be reproduced, visit this link.  You can view more oregon landscape paintings at Fine Art America.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Abstract Chicken Painting

This abstract chicken painting is the result of a recent journey in experimentation with acrylic paints.  I've always painted in oils and that has been my paint of choice, but it does have draw backs.  It takes a long time for the paint to dry.  If a painter fusses too much, the colors become muddy.  There are health issues associated with many of the chemicals used, but I've always been more comfortable with oils.  I guess because using oil paint was a very early and pleasant experience in my life.  However, as you may have noticed if you keep up with my blog, I've been doing a lot of work in acrylics.  Acrylics also have disadvantages, but for me the biggest one has always been that they dry too fast.  But, since I discovered the Stay-Wet palette, that issue has disappeared. With that obstacle out of the way, I've discovered some wonderful advantages that are starting to steal my heart.  If a painting doesn't turn out like I like, I just paint over it.  I can fuss and fuss and fuss, and if the colors get muddy, wait a few minutes, the paint is dry and I can start all over again.  So this chicken is the third painting I've done on the same canvas.  The first two were ugly disasters that I freely covered.  No wasted canvas, no regrets and a wonderful texture covers the canvas.  I love this abstract chicken. I've nurtured him, and now he is finished.  Both the original 11x14 inch painting and prints in several sizes on several surfaces are available for purchase.  Visit here for details and a larger image.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Not Alone

Although we sometimes feel alone, actually we are not. This tree, though seemly isolated and alone, is really surrounded by the beauty of nature, the sky, the ground, the textures of the earth. The painting was created on an 18x24 inch gallery canvas using acrylic paints. The sides are painted black and it can be hung with or without a frame.

The original painting is for sale or prints can be ordered here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fire and Ice

There is a story behind this 24x30 inch abstract.  It starts this way:  Last week I took a much needed vacation to Central Oregon, one of my all time favorite places to visit.  I had planned to do many things:  paint outdoors, hike, take lots of reference photos, bicycle, and relax.  First day there, I enjoyed a delightful mountain bike ride through the desert scrub of the Central Oregon landscape.  There is a lot of dust, scrubby pine trees, and rocks.  It was glorious until I hit a rock that threw me off the bike.  I landed on my knee and that was the end of the ride.  I limped back about a mile to the end of the trail.  With a fractured tibia, the rest of my plans went on the shelf.  Today I am back home.  I wanted to paint something large that would help relieve my frustrations at the slow pace I now keep and the loss of a well-deserved vacation.  The result is this painting which I call Fire and Ice.  It is metaphoric on many levels as you might imagine.  Prints are available here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Portrait of a City Dweller

Everyone who lives in a large city is familiar with these squatters.  City pigeons strut all over the streets and hang precariously on wires, keeping an eye out for the crumb droppings of those careless humans.  This fellow was created on a 6x6 inch canvas panel.  He was fun to paint and I am pleased to share that he has joined some of my other paintings of birds and animals that are for sale at my Etsy ShopClick here to purchase or view him in the shop.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

River Color

The paint is still wet on this 16x20 inch oil painting.  It was inspired by the hiking trails available in the Pacific Northwest.  Washington and Oregon have amazing trails that parallel some of the beautiful rivers in these states.  There is always an adventure when an afternoon of trail hiking offers the opportunity.  Both the original painting and prints are available for purchase by visiting my web site. Please stop by and take a look.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Nisqually Reflection

This abstract landscape painting was created on an 16x20 inch canvas using oil paints. It was inspired by a visit to the Nisqually Wildlife Preserve in Thurston County of Washington State. It is a delightful preserve on the Delta of the Nisqually River, a river that flows from the Nisqually Glacier on Mount Rainier. It was an early morning in the still of fall when the image first crossed my path. The water was very still, hardly a ripple and the beautiful gold of the autumn trees sparkled in the morning light. The chirping of birds filled the air and the air was crisp. It is a lovely memory and it was a great experience recreating the experience in my studio.  The original painting and art prints are available purchase at this link.  You can see more gold landscape paintings at Fine Art America.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hiking in April

For the past three years, I have visited Central Oregon in April. I'm anxious for my upcoming trip in a few weeks.  While we are there, we hike, ride bicycles, and enjoy a change of scenery.  It doesn't rain as much in Central Oregon as it does on the West Coast of Washington State, so it is always a relief to find a little sunshine.  This painting was inspired by a hike on the River Trail in the Dechutes National Forest.  I've painted it many times and always enjoy revisiting the image.  This time I experimented by using a monochromatic underpainting to get the values and then adding color after the values were in place.  The merging of my underpainting with the additional colors captured perfectly the coolness of an April hike.  The painting was created in oil paint and is 9x12 inches on a gallery-wrapped canvas.  It is for sale and can be purchased from my Etsy shop by visiting this link.  Some of my other landscape paintings that are for sale can be viewed here, here, and here.  Hope you will stop by for a visit.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Meadow Pines

A Central Oregon meadow and a cluster of pine trees was the inspiration for this 8x10 inch oil painting. The original painting is for sale at my Etsy Shop.  Visiting this link will allow you to view it in the shop or make a purchase.  Some of my other original tree paintings are also still available; just click here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nisqually Delta

If you've ever been to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge in Thurston County, Washington State, then you will recognize one of the remaining barns from the Brown Family Farm.  It is a classic barn in a beautiful rural landscape.  It is a blessing that this area is shared with public and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Nisqually Delta.  I am inspired to paint every time I visit.  This oil painting is 8x10 inches and was based on a photo taken last spring.  I loved the contrast of the sunlit barn and the tree shadow.  The painting is for sale at my Etsy Shop.  Click this link to view it in the shop or make a purchase. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sky Birch

This is a painting I created quite a while ago.  Recently I added it to my collection of images available in print form from Fine Art America.  Visit here to see sizes and surfaces available for purchase. I've been adding some of paintings that have already sold so folks can still own a copy of the image.

Sell Art Online

Saturday, February 16, 2013


This sweet little fellow seems to be trying to make a decision.  Tail up, bright eyed, I hope it will be the right one!  He was created on a 5x7 inch canvas panel with oil paint. Although he has SOLD, you can view some of my other paintings of birds and animals  in my Etsy Shop

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spring Tree Line

Just added this one to my Etsy Shop.  I painted it while dreaming of spring. The cold and damp has lead me to slip into my imagination and create something a little warmer.  This original 6x8 inch painting can be viewed or purchased here along with some of my other paintings of trees. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rabbit Fluff

This little fluffy bunny was originally created on 6x6 inch canvas panel with professional oil paints.  Reproductions are now available at my new website.  Just click on his icon and choose the size and surface.  Or, you can order him on a note card! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


The freedom of working with acrylic in an abstract way has been occupying my painting time lately.  I like the way my instinct can take over and attention to detail, shape, and form doesn't bog me down.  Instead, my ideas are organic and evolve as the canvas is covered. This 16x20 inch painting emerged yesterday and was a delightful way to spend an afternoon.  Although the painting is not for sale, I have uploaded photos of it so it can be purchased in print form at this link.   Click here to view it in my print gallery or make a purchase.

Sell Art Online