Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dapper Sherman

Oil on Archival Board

You can't tell me Sherman doesn't look smart and sassy and he should, too, because he is competing in obedience and winning much praise.  Apparently French Bulldogs are not always obedient....and I know they don't always win awards.  Only the ones who have incredible trainers (i.e., Brian Hawkins)!  Don't you think that red bowtie says it all?  What a face!!!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Late Day at the Ocean

5 x 7 Oil on Archival Board
Here is the second in my mini-series of beach vignettes.  There were rough seas this particular evening and I caught this woman walking her dog along the surf.    If you are interested in purchasing, just hit the Buy It Now link.  It will take you to my Etsy page of original oils.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Setting Up

5 x 7 Oil on Archival Board

Summer is officially here, so here is the first in a little series of beach vignettes.  Finding the perfect spot on the beach and setting up all the things that seemed necessary was always a chore.  When I went to the beach as a child, all we brought was a blanket or towel, radio, and suntan lotion...Sometimes, not even that because we all believed that being really red or tan was the goal...   

Monday, June 20, 2016

Golden Sunset at the Lake

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

This time of year the sunsets are exquisite, and even more so after a storm.  I don't usually try to paint them because I don't seem to be able to capture that beauty.  I never do them justice; however, I had to try to capture this one.  My friend (and wonderful artist), Suzanne Paddock, came over last week and we played.  We mostly discussed color and the process of blocking in.  Her suggestions and the time she took were so much appreciated.  In this painting, I tried to conjure up everything we talked about.  I really like the way this came out.  Thank you, Suz!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"The Problem We All Live With"


8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

For me, painting is a good way to avoid thinking about the horror that occurred in Orlando.  My heart goes out to all those involved.  This touches us all.

This is another in my art patron series...This one of a little girl with a huge backpack (and a teddy bear) studying Norman Rockwell's depiction of little Ruby Bridges, a six year old, headed to an all white public school in 1960.  She is surrounded by guards and walks with determination and pride. The painting was one of many in the recent Rockwell show at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke, VA.  I'd love to say things have changed since the 60's, but have they??

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Floating on Smith Mountain Lake

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

One great thing about living on a lake is that there is never a problem finding a subject to paint.  I suppose that is true wherever you live.  I'm so in love with the painting process that I am never at a loss for my next project, which makes everyday a great adventure. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Country House in Spring

8 x 10 Oil on Archival Board

This house has attracted my attention every time I pass by it.  It sits alone on a large piece of property which I think must have been a working farm at one time.  I've thought many times, in different seasons, about painting it.  This day the light, atmosphere, and white flowers on the large bush on the side were too much to pass up.  Also, I loved the tilted antenna...or clothes line.  I thought about leaving it out, but it does work to pull your eye back into the painting.  This is one of my favorites :-)  If interested, just email me at shelleykoop@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brotherly Love


9 x 6 Oil on Archival Board

Meet Desi and Jack, two wild and crazy rescues who have found a wonderful home...Lucky dogs! This was a difficult painting to do because both dogs are so black and blend in together in one mass with two heads.  I had to vary the tone and texture to describe what part went with which dog :-)  A total learning experience.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks....

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cloud Study, Smith Mountain Lake

6 x 12 Oil on Archival Board

We here in Virginia have been having lots of pop up storms mixed with bright sun lately.  The weather changes too fast for me to grab my little easel and set it up to record what's going on, so I decided to set up my go-to palette in advance and keep the easel by the window.  I'm glad I did.  The clouds the other day were awesome, and I got this little study down quickly.  I was thinking I would work on it after the initial try, but I'm leaving it alone.  I really think it portrays that moment in time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Green Canoe on Smith Mountain Lake

9 x 12 Oil on Archival Board


Smith Mountain Lake is so diverse due to its huge size.  We live on the Gills Creek portion of the lake which doesn't have the distant mountains.  Actually it does, but one has to stand on the roof of the house to see it :-)  This is the Blackwater part which has a totally different feel.  I love the ins and outs of the land.  The lake has 500 miles of shoreline, so there's plenty of places to paint without repeating too often.  The trick here is to sketch your painting in quickly, because the colors and shadows change if you look away for a minute.  If interested in purchasing, please email me at shelleykoop@gmail.com

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Attracted by a Man in Uniform

12 x 6 Oil on Archival Board

A woman studying "Achille De Gas in the Uniform of a Cadet" by Edgar Degas at the National Gallery.  I'm usually not drawn in by this type of portrait, but the woman was so intense in her attention to it that I walked over to really look at it.  Because the pose is so casual in this piece, it gives a feeling that the viewer might know the subject...a young naval cadet, (actually Degas' brother).  After having completed so many, when I go back to painting these art patron pieces, (after landscapes, etc.,) it feels like I'm back in my Zen place :-)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Quiet Paddling on Smith Mountain Lake

12 x 12 Oil on Archival Board

There are so many ways to enjoy Smith Mountain Lake, and this is one of my favorites. Painting the reflection of the kayak and the multitude of colors and shades was the best part.  Mixing, Mixing, Mixing....My new-found joy! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Whitecaps on Smith Mountain Lake

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

A windy day plein air from my studio window.  There was only one sailboat at the time, so I took the liberty of adding two more.  Wouldn't it be great if life was like that? ... If something doesn't appeal to you, just conjure up what does.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fenced In

6 x 9 Oil on Archival Board


This lucky horse has beautiful scenery and endless fields of grass to keep him occupied.  Pretty soon, I think he and his mate will be moving to new pastures.  It's always good to mix things up every now and then. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bent Tree at Smith Mountain Lake

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

This is one of my favorite views when I'm doing my morning walk.  When we first moved here to the Lake, this tree was tall and straight.  Over the years it has become a little bent and has lost some of its branches...sort of like me, I suppose.  Thankfully, I still have my branches :-)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Quiet Smith Mountain Lake (Plein Air - Commission)

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

The weather has been so perfect this week, and here is another plein air piece (number 2 of the four commissions).  The light and the reflections of the sky on the water were pretty exceptional when I painted this.  It changed quickly, so I was glad I could get it down.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Greens on Smith Mountain Lake (plein air)

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

It's always good to move away from something you are doing (as in my series of museum patrons) for a change of pace.  Not only is it freeing to move the paint around in a less controlled way, but it brings that much more enjoyment when I move back to the series.  Looking out at the landscape before me, I had a wonderful time mixing those greens.  The weather was perfect and it was a great way to spend the day.  I will be doing three more commissions based on the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake and the surrounding mountains.  Let's hope there is no more snow!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lighthouse Attire

10 x 8 Oil on Archival Board


Continuing on with my art patron series...A man studying Edward Hopper's "Lighthouse at Two Lights" (1929) at the MET.  I have always loved Hopper, and this piece is a favorite so it was a thrill to see it 'up close and personal".  Looking into the history of this painting, Hopper apparently painted it to "signify a pleasurable reprieve from his life in New York."  The day we were at the MET was an extremely hot NY day, and you certainly could feel the salt air of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This man was in perfect gear...flip flops and all. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Chair Share

10 x 8 Oil on Archival Board


It's tough to be so big and be intimidated by a little Frenchie...Apparently this was the only way Clarisse could "share" the chair.  I painted this a little looser than usual, but I think the subject matter dictated what to do.  I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to do these commissions and I appreciate each and every one of them!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cottage by the Water

10 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Can you feel the breezes off the water?  After what felt like a long winter, I'm ready for the ocean and the lake; the smell of wet sand, salt water, fresh water...whatever brings you to that place in your mind.  I wanted this little painting to feel like you were passing by and peeking in to get a look at the house half hidden behind the landscape.  A drive by, or walk by, or bike ride by.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Funny Bunny

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board



Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!  May you hunt and find lots of eggs to add to your baskets.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lynda and Ally,Taking Five

6 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

This is what a Standard Dachshund and a Chiweenie (half Dachshund, half Chihuahua) do when they need time to chill.  It's a tough life!  Lucky little rescues. Who could resist those faces.  Thank you, Lynda Duke, for the opportunity to paint them :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Segway Sunday

6 x 12 Oil on Archival Board

Here's a quick moment in time on a Sunday in Washington, DC.  A group of Segway riders passing by; some holding on for dear life.  It was obviously a tour and you could tell by their body language that a lot of them were new to the experience. A great way to see the sites, though.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

At a Crossroad

12 x 9 Oil on Archival Board

I painted this woman before in pastel and have always loved the scene and particularly this woman.  I decided to paint it again in oils and thought it especially appropriate in this political climate.  The woman is a housekeeper at one of the inns or guest cottages on Monhegan.  There were a number of summer helpers from other countries working on the island.  Her clothes and her demeanor drew me right to her.  At the time I thought "what a great way to earn some money and see new and faraway places."  If things pan out as some of the "politicians" are suggesting, I suppose it will put an end to this lovely woman's job.  Progress??  I don't think so!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Big Thank You!

A big thank you to all who came out to Goose Creek Studio last night for my show, and a special thank you to Patrick, Mitchell, and Lydia for making it all happen!  Lots of people, lots of art in a wonderful setting...It just doesn't get better than that!  The show stays up for a month, so wander by and take a look if you are in the area.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Day at the Museum Show

COME ONE, COME ALL!!  A show of 19 of my museum paintings will open on March 11th at Goose Creek Studio in Bedford, VA.  Stop by and say hello if you are in the area.  I will be there from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, and the paintings will be there for a month.  I had such a wonderful time painting these....as I keep saying :-)  For me, there is something special about the art itself and the patrons who visit.  There is something that draws each of us to a particular painting.  One person might just walk on by, while another will stop...drawn by who knows what...and get sucked in.  It's that "who knows what" that fascinates me.  So, these paintings and patrons are what I found myself drawn to. 

Thank you Patrick and Mitchell at Goose Creek Studio for the opportunity to show these paintings together.  I truly appreciate it! 

Thursday, March 3, 2016


8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

What a gorgeous King Charles Spaniel she is and what fun to paint.  I'm loving the process of painting these!!  If interested in your pet's portrait, just email me at shelleykoop@gmail.com

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Maycie and Parker


8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Two beautiful King Charles Spaniels ready to get groomed by the most wonderful Lesleigh Cook at Golden Meadows.  I love to drop Tallulah off to get groomed or boarded because I get to see her incredibly obedient Goldens...and Gonzo (a Doodle) who only has eyes for her :-).  It is hard not to leave there without inspiration and, of course, the hope that one day Lula will be as obedient as her dogs.  I'm particularly honored that Maycie and Parker's family purchased this little painting.

Monday, February 22, 2016


8 x 6 Oil on Archival Board

This is the last painting for my upcoming show depicting people and paintings at the National Gallery in DC.  The exhibit will be at the fabulous Goose Creek Studio, and will open on March 11th.  The reception is from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  There will be approximately 18 paintings in this series; some I've posted, some I haven't yet.  If you are in the area (Bedford, VA), please stop by and say hello.  More on the particulars when it's a little closer :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Time Marches On

11 x 14 Oil on Archival Board


On my travels recently, I passed this forgotten farmhouse.  I always wonder when I pass structures like this, who lived there, what happened to them, and why the house was just left to deteriorate.  It sagged a little, but I could almost see it the way it might have been a few decades ago.  It certainly looked worthy of saving to me, although a house inspector might have other thoughts...

Monday, February 15, 2016



10 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Here's Maxie, one of four Valentine's Day commissions I was asked to do.  It certainly was fun to switch gears from my museum series and paint such a cute dog with an outstanding face :-) 

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day. We got snow here in VA as one of our gifts.  Today, we have sleet....Who knows what tomorrow will bring. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Thinker

9 x 6 Oil on Archival Board

A young man at the National Gallery getting information about one of the painting that interested him.  In the distance is Andrew Wyeth's "Looking Out, Looking In."  His position really reminded me of Rodin's sculpture, "The Thinker."  Thus, the title. 

I'm ready for this exhibit now.  I've got my 16 paintings and thought I'd be tired of painting them, but have found that I want to do more.  They are extremely fun for me and very Zen-like.  I forget everything else and plunge ahead, enjoying every stroke.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Under the Watchful Eye of Napoleon

9 x 6 Oil on Archival Board

Here's Number 16 in my on-going series of art patrons at the National Gallery.  Two women sitting with their backs to Napoleon (something he probably would not appreciate).  His stare didn't seem to bother them. The painting is Jacques-Louis David's "The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries," painted in 1812.  It was a good place to sit and relax before moving on to another room of incredible art.  I never seem to get tired of painting these little vignettes, and the more I do, the more I learn. Can't beat that :-)

Friday, January 29, 2016

"Both Members of This Club"

6 x 9 Oil on Archival Board

"Both Members of This Club" is a wonderful painting by George Bellows (1909).  One of my very favorites at the National Gallery.  The title refers to the practice of granting "membership" to boxers but only for the duration of the bouts.  They were considered unacceptable to join on a permanent basis.  Bellows showed his disdain for the elitist crowd by depicting them as grotesque.  When you get up close and personal with the painting, you can see the hatred and the "group mentality."  It sort of reminded me of the election process we are going through now.... This is Number 15 out of the 16 I am doing for my upcoming show at the wonderful Goose Creek Studio in March.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Museum Lecture

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Sunday seems to be the best day to go to the museum.  There are so many events happening... Or perhaps we just hit it right.  We were able to listen to an informative discussion about Paul Gauguin's life and his self-portrait.  This painting is my take on that part of our day.  I learned so much from not only this discussion, but also the fascinating information you can get from researching paintings you find interesting. Looking at a painting and admiring it is one thing, but understanding why the artist painted it and his or her motivations gives it another dimension.  More to come.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



9 x 6 Oil on Archival Board

It was hard to walk past this piece by Rembrandt. (NGA)  It depicts Lucretia right before her act of suicide.  That amazing face, (hard to see here), the knife in her hand, and the tilted head with that resigned expression...WOW!  This piece was painted in 1664.  One more in my series.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


10 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Even though I'm closing in on finishing the paintings I need for the show in March, I'm going to continue to paint these museum pieces.  This has been such a great experience.  I have four more to do, and about 50 I still plan to do :-)

The painting here is Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant's "Favorite of the Emir" painted in 1879 (at the NGA).  The woman I saw looking so intently at the painting could almost be placed on that chaise in the harem, listening to the male servant play his tanbur and luxuriating in the mystery of it all.  I wonder what she was thinking....

A new favorite!

Monday, January 11, 2016


8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Meet Scrappy, a commission I did recently.  What a face, right?!  I completed a lot of commissions for the holidays, but I must say that Scrappy was one of my favorites.  These commissions are very Zen-like for me.  They just seem to flow, and I love doing them.  There is no anxiety about what is going on in the world...Just me and my subject, appearing miraculously stroke by stroke.  Nothing better than that :-) 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's All in the Details

9 x 6 Oil on Archival Board

Number 10 in my series of paintings of people at museums.  Only 6 more to go to be ready for my show in March.  I love doing these so much and will probably continue, but it's nice to know that I will be ready when I need to be.  This is one of my favorites so far.  The really nice thing about the National Gallery is that the viewer can get up close and personal with the paintings.  It's not that way at all museums.  This room was one of my favorites.  It contained the Dutch masters, and the painting of interest here is "The Prayer Before the Meal" by Jan Steen.  The darks and lights...WOW!

 More to come, interspersed with a few commissioned animal portraits that I can now post :-)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ready for the Track

10 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Continuing with my people at museums series...I really loved this woman studying "For the Track" by John Frederick Peto at the National Gallery of Art.  Although painted between 1854 and 1907, this painting has a really modern collage appearance, combining lots of track images; such as a crop, a horseshoe, ripped betting tickets, etc.  The woman dressed in what looked like riding boots just seemed ready take to the track.  Those boots and the tilt of her head won me over :-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Love the One You're With


One of the fun commissions I was honored to do, and I'm now able to post it :-)  I felt it was appropriate for New Year's Eve.  We should all hug the ones dear to us and wish for a peaceful and kind 2016. 


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Theodore the Christmas Rabbit

8 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

This is my last post before Christmas, but before I sign off for the Holiday I want to thank you all for making this such a great art year.  I really appreciate your interest in my work and all the commissions you have entrusted me to do, as well as the positive feedback you have shared with me throughout the year.  You have all enriched my life.  Merry Christmas to you and your families.  See you soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Brooklyn in the Sun

6 x 8 Oil on Archival Board

Meet Brooklyn, one of the sweetest dogs owned by Lesleigh Cook.  Brooklyn's painting is a thank you for all she does for us (Tallulah in particular).  I keep saying this because it's so true, but without Lesleigh's training and patience with us, we might not have kept our most wonderful dog.  However, I must add that Lesleigh MUST stop laughing at me when I get out of the back seat of the car with Lula.  I have to sit next to her to keep her from barking at all the cars that go by...Perhaps another training class...probably for me :-)

Friday, December 4, 2015


8 x 10 Oil on Archival Board

I have been feverishly finishing up all the commissions I have been asked to do, and have enjoyed them more than I can even say.  I'm still working on a couple more and will have them ready to go for Christmas giving.  I don't post them all at the request of the customers.  This is Stuart, a beautiful yellow Lab.  This one was an honor to do because Stuart died suddenly not long ago and a friend of Stuart's owner asked me to paint his portrait.  I shipped it off a few days ago.  The colors here are not exactly accurate; a little faded out for some reason.  I hope the painting brings Stuart's family some comfort at such a hard time. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday at the Museum

9 x 6 Oil on Archival Board


Another in my museum and patron series.  A young girl studying the Dutch Masters at the National Gallery.  She was really caught up in Frans Hals "Willem Coymans".  Perhaps it was the hat and lace….

Thursday, November 19, 2015


8 x 10 Oil on Archival Board


A scene from my recent visit to The National Gallery of Art in DC.  The Sir Peter Paul Rubens painting "Daniel in the Lions' Den" depicts the Old Testament profit Daniel giving thanks to God for being miraculously saved from the lions.  It is said that Rubens described the painting as "Daniel among the lions, taken from life.  Original, entirely by my hand."  The North American lions Rubens used as his models were kept in the Royal menagerie at Brussels.

This is my third painting in my museum series. The original painting is quite large and is awe-inspiring.  I kept being drawn back to it.  Painting it was certainly a challenge.  I found it the most difficult thing I've attempted, but learned so much in the process. Rubens and I became good friends :-) 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Potter Extraordinaire

6 x 9 Oil on Archival Board

During a recent show of his pottery display, "78 Tea Bowls", Andre Namenek took a break and sat back to take in all the activity.  I've been drinking out of my two purchased bowls and love the texture and warmth when I hold them.  I had to wait in line to purchase them...That's how crowded and busy it was.  A successful show and a happy potter.  I really enjoy talking to Andre and loved painting him. I was so pleased that this painting was sold at our Old Jail Hill Art Space show.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sketching at the Salon

8 x 10 Oil on Archival Board

I was so lucky to go to the National Gallery of Art on a Sunday when the Drawing Salon was in progress.  The John Singer Sargent room was full of artists young and old intent on sketching Sargent's masterpieces.  I would have joined in, but was on a mission to see as much of the incredible art as I could.  Next time, I plan on joining in.  What a treat!!  This is my second in what I hope is a never ending series of paintings of museums and art patrons.