Chinatown, San Franscico 16×20 oil

Inspired by the colorful street I painted this scene with lots of pinks, reds, and browns. Using a small amount of greens as accent color. When traveling, I love visiting cities where you can walk everywhere. That way, at the end of the day you are nice and relaxed from exhausting yourself from misreading your maps….it’s a good kind of exhaustion. I remember this day visiting San Francisco with my family. We walked to Chinatown from the North Beach area of San Francisco and when we turned the corner to walk down this street the festival of colors was so delightful to the eye! I had to paint it!  So I took lots of pictures and made mental notes or rather “sketches” in my head. This street scene feels like the vibe of that sunny day. I can remember the taste of the delicious chow mein and rice we enjoyed and the smells of the restaurants’ menu offerings. We stopped in a tea shop and sampled different teas. We learned about the health benefits of different teas and how to properly brew and steep  them. With our new knowledge of teas we found some beautiful and useful teapots to take home. With plenty of touristy shops to explore, we also found some interesting scarves and trinkets to indulge in.

There was something so festive, alive and dynamic of this street scene… Starting with the reds of the buildings, the hanging lanterns that reminded me of draped garland at Christmas time, and the continuous movement of people, trucks, cars, banners, and signage …all of it is so fun to try and capture on canvas. Simplifying the scene, with impressionistic loose brush work I depicted what I thought was most important to get the gist of the lively day. In this original oil painting I have captured the feeling of that particular day without over doing it with unnecessary details.

Painting the figure in oil painting.

Floating 16×20 oil painting…..$1400

I like to paint my subjects “doing” something. I don’t want them looking into the camera but instead just being. This is my daughter floating on an inner tube. I painted this because I liked the relaxing feeling and mood of her sunbathing. Floating on a raft is the ultimate of relaxation. Just letting the warm sun and water rock you into a lullaby of  tranquility. Bliss. Isn’t this the unspoken goal? That we work hard enough and someday soon we will deserve to completely let go and “float on a raft”.

Folklorico Dancers 16×20 oil painting – Buy Now $1400

These dancers were at Old Town San Diego outside a restaurant. So lovely to watch. The purple dress caught my artist eye. I had to paint it! The dancers confidently bounced around the stage. The dance seemed so effortless to them. The sunlight danced along with them, lighting up different parts of their clothing as they moved around the stage.


Koi Pond  20×16 oil painting- Buy Now $1400

This painting is inspired by these children playing with the fish at a Koi pond.  It is amazing how mesmerizing fish can be.  I stood and watched as the children interacted with the fish and each other for more than an hour. The younger the child the more fascinated they were with the brightly colored fish. I remembered with my  own children that it was the simple things that kept them engaged in an activity.

Laguna Palm Tree, 12×16 original oil painting

laguna palms

Available oil painting

This palm tree painting has thick paint and a pastel color palette.  Impressionist painting of Laguna Beach, California. I painted this on location, plein air, at noon-ish. The texture of the paint makes the palm trees look like they are moving in the wind. Impressionist in style allows room for loose, juicy paint. I like to get the gist of the scene and let the viewers finish the painting with their own eyes. When I first started out painting, one of my favorite books was Oil Painting Workshop by Ted Goeshner. The author instructs how we should not paint down to the viewer. Everyone knows what a tree looks like. We don’t need to paint every leaf. I like this approach because it gives more room to focus on atmosphere, mood, and texture. Laguna Beach is gorgeous 365 days a year, even on the gloomy days. With palm trees everywhere swaying in the wind and the sounds of the surf pounding the shore one feels (if you’re a local like me) as if you are on a mini vacation.

Palm trees grace landscape                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Burst of pink laughter invades                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Blue sky and water

Dorothy (Alves) Holmes   #192 Haiku Palm Trees




“Before the Sunset”, Laguna Beach, 12×16 oil painting

dusk blog12x16

Available oil painting

In this oil painting I  used lots of blues, purples, and periwinkles for the waves and water. Yellow, pink, and orange for the sunset and  water highlights. I was out walking and photographing the ocean when I decided to do an oil painting of this beautiful dusk-ish scene. I remember feeling a lot of anxiety and angst before taking a beach walk. Then the sunset turns into this drama in the sky with the dark clouds almost suppressing the setting sun. On this day before the sunset there were lots of surfers waiting for the next wave. Just floating out there wading in the ebb and flow. Such a peaceful scene of humanity just waiting in the waves. So zen…so one with nature. The ocean often reminds me of how small we humans are in the bigger scheme of things. It is kind of relaxing to think we are just another part of nature. There is a particular safety in the thought. Our lives are not such a big deal…….we can just float along with nature and relax…..that is….until the next big wave comes.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”–Rabindranath Tagore