Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very special Christmas full of color and magic!
Thanks to everyone for taking the time this year to view this blog and leave a comment or two. I've loved viewing your blogs as well and hope the New Year is full of good things and special moments for you to capture.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Event Painting

My first event painting was of our high school graduation-a unique ceremony that ends with a jump in the lake. It was really a practice to see if I could do it, but it caught on with a school board member, the superintendent, and the principle who liked the result and now it's hanging in the high school office!  I am thrilled and honored to have a permanent connection with the school district, where all three of my boys attended.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Chance Meeting

I unexpectedly got to meet one of my favorite painters while visiting family in Oregon last week- Dean Crouser!  I discovered him last year online and just love his loose colorful style; his work really inspires me.  I was with my sister-in-law who took me to the Mt. Hood Arts Festival and thought I'd flip through the list of exhibitors before starting out. (I'm not usually that organized!)  Saw his name and about flipped and headed straight for his booth.
He is as nice as he is talented and we had a great visit and chat in between his many customers.  You can check out his website at

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seasonal Warm-up

It was a dark, cold, and rainy day; depressing until I picked up the brushes and Brusho watercolors.  Very fun experimenting with Christmas trees; this medium forces you to stay loose. I finally found the paper I like best with this-Fabriano Artistico 300#. It's thick and smooth and takes a lot of punishment, plus you can bleach out areas for white. (just make sure you get fresh air when bleaching!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pumpkin Time

I just love pumpkins.  I love their vibrant, roundy huggable shape with the promise of fall fun and the most wonderful holiday of all- Halloween!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Event Painting

This was my first venture at doing a live event painting.  We have a unique tradition at our lakeside high school graduations; after the ceremony all the graduates jump into the lake! I was trying for a collage-y type of painting to get it all in. It had to be really fast because it starting raining 45 minutes into the event.  I finished it at home and happily the school superintendent would like to hang it at the school so it is now getting a nice frame on it which will make this detailed effort look a lot better!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Adirondack Moment

A small color study of a little piece of heaven in the Adirondacks this past weekend.
It really does look like this in the morning; a thick misty fog slowly lifts as the sun rises and electrifies the fall colors nearby. I hope to do more little paintings of these scenes and do them justice!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pet Portrait Practice

I have a new puppy! This isn't him, but I'm practicing dog portraits again for those who may want one for Christmas. Since I'm going to stay put at home for potty training for a while, it's a good excuse to get going with the brushes, and maybe even clean out a closet or two.
I really like WN neutral tint for this kind of exercise since values are so important and it takes the guesswork out of making color choices.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Out and About

It's been a month or so since the last post-yikes, the summer is flying by. I thought I would show you some of the fun locations I painted in this season. A random mix to be sure, but being outdoors in our short summer and savoring every moment is the best thing there is! We go a little crazy cramming  everything into two months time; I haven't finished too many paintings lately but lots are started and there's no chance of being bored when we have to go back indoors.

 Practicing "event painting" at a friend's graduation party for her son. My wooden plein air easel broke as I was setting it up, so her husband got me a nice piece of plywood to sit on. (the grass was wet that day) Pretty fun, although I did more chatting than painting I think with the guests that came to see what I was doing. I learned a lot, mainly to paint bigger! It's too hard to do 50 tiny people.
 Ahhhh, a new easel! I LOVE this one from Eric Michaels Plein Air Pro. The easel and palette shelf attaches to my camera tripod! It sets up in about one minute and is so transportable. I carried it down an embankment to a rocky spot on the Ausable River in the Adirondacks in July. We had every element that plein air painters could endure except snow-90 degree heat, wind, and bugs. The margarita later on was the best one I ever had!
 My old beat up kayak is the most awkward place to paint, but I don't have to carry a water supply! I just love this challenge and these paintings will never be frame-able, but it teaches me to go really fast, and there is a freshness and spontaneity to the brushstrokes that I will try to remember later.
A nearby nature center has a gorgeous patch of coneflowers. sitting there in the sun surrounded by flowers, bees and butterflies was simply heaven.  I hope to finish at least one of these soon-I started about four different ones hoping one will come out well.

So this is just a smattering of places-I hope to finagle a bike and backpack with mini plein air painting gear and really hit the road and find more cool spots that you can't get to in a car.  Enjoy the rest of summer everyone!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lavender Festival 2013

The 6th Lockwood Farm Lavender Festival was bigger than ever!  It was an extremely busy two days and the nicest venue.  People come to pick lavender, enjoy the lakeside and farm scenery, participate in lavendery workshops, and shop artist vendors. It was brutally hot on Sunday; the sheep were too warm to come out but people persevered. Everyone did quite well with sales which is always nice, and many requested teaching lessons and commission ideas, and of course donation requests from several worthy local causes which I'm happy to help with.  Giving back to the community is an honor and I feel lucky to be able to do that with my art.
I almost forgot my favorite "feel good" comment of the event-a lady bought one of my lambs and lavender prints-it's a soft painting of a mother and baby lamb-for her son and his wife who are expecting a baby soon. Their last pregnancy resulted in a loss, and she thought this  picture would give them hope. We were both a little teary as she told this story...

More later with July activities-such a month of cramming everything in that we can in the beautiful summer weather!  Hope you are all enjoying yourselves as well!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This weekend is the Lavender Festival at Lockwood Farm in Skaneateles NY.  I'm gathering lots of new paintings, prints and notecards for the event-it is always such a good time!
The link below gives you the fantastic lineup of activities and artists.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Another hummingbird in the works. I have put this away so many times and gotten it back out, added a few strokes, and put it down again. Washed out some areas I didn't like, then re-painted. When you use this much color it takes more work to balance it out, and always the threat of overworking looms on your mind.  Who would think such a carefree picture would create such agony?  Maybe the next one will paint itself; we can always hope!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Peony Time

The peonies are so luscious and full this year!  However, the constant rain is making them droop. I wait all year for them to bloom again so it's always a rush to try and capture them in their essence.
This is the first time I've painted on Clayboard (aquaboard) and it's a lot of fun.  The colors stay vibrant and it's so forgiving and versatile. I'm using Brusho too on this so a lot of joyous experimenting is going on. You can lift the color with water and a brush, or use bleach to whiten out an area.  I'm going to need a bulk order of these boards-the possibilities are endless!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fishing Flies

It's been a rainy week but no complaints here-instead of yardwork there's lots of new subjects to paint.  Actually I've done a few bigger fly ties that people like but I've been asked frequently for smaller versions or prints so I thought some more studies would be good to work on.  Going to let this sit and decide if it needs some stronger darks in places.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tulips on the Way

Is there anything better than spring flowers after a long winter?  A friend brought this bouquet of tulips and the colors were so uplifting.  I decided to use a wash technique, flowing in lots of red and yellow paint,  letting it dry, (patience!) then slowly finding and "modeling" tulips out of the wash.   

Friday, April 12, 2013

Maternal Spring

Every spring robins get busy with their nest making and raising young'uns, sometimes multiple batches.  They are irresistible to watch and sometimes we get really lucky if they make their beds close by.  Once I found one in a strawberry patch on the ground!
I was trying to be much looser with the bird but somehow got caught up in the details.  Still, it has a soft look to it that's kind of nice. Maybe a second round will help, or maybe paint with my eyes closed!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Another little screech owl in progress. They are so cute! And it's fun to learn more about each bird as you do research as well.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Thoughts Whirling...

Owl painted in painting group today.  He's coming along and very fun to do.

I must be having a very philosophical day; so many things made me pause for thought about what painting is meaning to me now compared to when I started.
Drawing and painting has always been a big part of my life, it was just something that constantly called me, saying "Just do it! Doodle! Cartoon! Just pick up a pencil and get it moving!"  The thought of people buying my art someday sounded really attractive and maybe out of my reach.  One day -years later-joy!- someone bought my first notecards which were made up into little zip-lock Baggies from the grocery store.  That was fun, but what about the framed originals?  Why don't more people buy those? I need money to pay for this hobby and more would be nice.  I was constantly pricing and re-pricing, trying to save money framing, anything to make it price friendly enough for people to buy. Now, it is a few more years later, and now I sell prints and notecards, and originals as well at a few shows and galleries. I'm still under the radar with a website in mind, but what means the most to me now is that the people buying the artwork really love it and it makes them feel good.  They can feel whatever emotion and joy I put into the piece.  They're not buying it because it goes with their couch in the living room.   Nothing is more satisfying than that.

When I went to my painting group today, my favorite muse artist came and worded precisely what I've been feeling but hadn't put into words yet. It was something her son had said to her; "Mom, your painting is your worship".  Bing! Suddenly it all makes sense.  The paintings that others like are the ones where I barely remember moving the brush.  Call it a zone, a higher power, or whatever you like, but it's your talent and desire and hours of practice that have led to these moments of zen-like action.  I hope it lasts forever.  The money may come as a result, but the emotion must always be there first.

Below is a link to a great article with many ideas that convey the whole picture of art and what needs to be thought about first, if indeed you would like to sell your art.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Love those Daffodils

     Hello, it's nice to get back to the blog.  Thank you all who have been following and checking in even though I haven't posted in a while.
    My dear mom passed away in January just as I was getting the brushes moving again, and life took a while to get sorted out.  Painting is such a strong calling though, and will probably be a great venue for all the feelings that have been whirling around.  I'd like to explore some images with her spirit in mind.  She loved birds, animals, and wildlife so that will be fun to experiment with.  Of course, she liked a glass of bourbon once in a while too, but I'm not getting inspired about that!
    The urge to paint with yellow has resulted in some lively work and I had to order more tubes!  Here I've used cad yellow pale and new gamboge with some Winsor orange.  I just ordered Winsor yellow deep so can't wait to try a new one.  These daffodils were picked up at the local flower shop because it will be many weeks before the real things pop up.
Used a lot of negative painting to form the petals, ala Jean Haines' method after I took her workshop last fall.
   Thanks for taking a peek-think spring!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January Work

Ahhhhh, back to the studio after weeks of absence.  December duties called, and by the time  January rolled around and the brushes could be picked up again, I felt quite rusty.  Here are some examples of exercises I did to warm up again.  

A variety of studies: some sketches of winter scenes, color charts, playing with paint to remember color combinations, and some ideas from Maggie Latham's studio blog to get the wheels turning.  The most important thing is to just get the brush moving, even if you have no idea what you want to do or where to start.  It's only paper and paint!

Decided to try some snow covered teasels; something I attempted when I very first started painting in earnest a few years ago.  It went pretty badly back then, but I really love them and I've learned a lot since that time, so am giving it another go!  I took pictures, did sketches, painted color charts and small  studies.  If anybody wonders "how long" does it take for an artist to do a painting, these are some examples of what goes on behind the work.

 First attempt at a finished painting.  Better than my first tries, but I will try some more as my little color studies that didn't mean anything are looser and more innocent somehow.  Luckily this winter has provided some gorgeous snow and beautiful scenery to keep practicing and painting!