Monday, May 14, 2018

Prince Edward Island and Lab Girl

"Being able to drive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life."

Quote from the book Lab Girl, which is a book by Hope Jahren. Essentially it is a memoir by American geochemist, geobiologist, and professor. But more than that it is an atlas of discovery. For Jahren it is about plant life but it also pertains fully to the artistic exploration. I guess it's all the same. ;-)

This painting was begun last year when I was in prince Edward Island. It took a year to finally come to its fruition.

Monday, April 30, 2018

more from Sanibel

Since I am back from beautiful Sanibel I am now living in my memory. Ahhh.

My memory allows for total freedom. When I was there I recorded only the written information about the colors in my sketchbook. This series of paintings have no solid physical basis. I am only concerned with air. Sometimes land shapes come forward but I am not as interested in making them...simply trying to paint air.
As I work on these air studies I am finding that using texture is exciting. Since these are all pastel I started with texture. Not being satisfied I kept adding more as I  worked. 
Does anyone have a suggestions for a new place to go where the air is colored? I so far like Sanibel, Washington State, and Prince Edward Island. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sanibel Island and Blogger app

I have spent the last week on Sanibel Island. Love that place! Did many small paintings and now I am back in the studio working from them.
Apologies for my lack of posts. It seems that when I updated my iphone to ios 11 it no longer will work with my blogger app! Blogger has not, till this point, fixed this. For the past years I have been doing all of my posts on my phone, but now I am back to the computer and it is slowing me down.
I have many more ideas to share.... till later. Now back to the studio.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Febraury passion challenge days 14-22

Baltimore sunrise, 30x40, oil

We had serious wind storms which closed down the city. At one point when I went to a doctor's appointment I heard two transformers blow and the fire came next! Therefore I spent more time in studio than out. The top one is the large oil I've been working on and the others are some of the plein airs before and after the storm.
field near needwood
memory twilight needwood

field at entrance

Monday, February 26, 2018

Days 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 Passion challenge

 I keep going to the same place...seeing what I can do to create a painting. Sometimes I rework it in the studio and it then I change the season.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 5&6 passion challenge

pastel 8x8, day 6
After today I will be posting once a week. In that post I will include the 7 paintings from the week. It's been so freeing to simply go to the same place and just play with the possibilities. I have the small paintings up on the wall and love the differences. It brings me back to the two years of one pot of mums!
pastel 6x8, day 5

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

february 16 2018 passion challenge, day 3

day 3 pastel 8x8
I return to my favorite place, between the rains. When I paint here, with my muse, I simply sit with my love and communicate. People have asked why do I paint the same thing? My face probably screws up a little (I can't help it). I wonder, the same thing? The muse is the same... but it's not the same thing. It's not about her, it's about the air and the color vibration, she simply provides it. Did Rodin sculpt the same thing with Camille? Did Andrew Wyeth paint the same thing in his Helga series? Staying with a muse frees me. She inspires me and allows me the dialogue with the painting rather than painting her.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

valentine's passion and one month

Hi Everyone!

pastel about 5"x6"
I'm back!!!! The explanation for my absence is below. I just wanted to announce that in honor of Valentine's Day I will be posting a daily passion post for one month (February 14-March 14.) Most posts will be that day's plein air painting. If it is my long teaching day you will see a small studio piece. What better way to celebrate passion! Happy Valentine's Day!

PS I am happy to say I am back blogging. Not to make excuses... but Apple has caused me many problems. When I updated to High Sierra it caused me more problems. It stopped access to my photo editing software (which was is Cs5)and made it so I couldn't open Aperture. They call them "legacy programs". They are trying to phase these programs out because you only have to buy them once. Their replacements are programs you continually have to subscription. Arghhhhhh! With help from Artur, friend and tech specialist, I am up and running again, but for who knows how long. If you know answers to these issues please comment or email me. Iphoto is not as good as Aperture that's why I left. It looks like Lightroom is the only answer. Help...if you know!

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 only one resolution

If I was to say one thing to do this year...if there was a resolution to make, it would be this..... Build pockets of silence into your life. Put away the phone and allow boredom and silence to reign. It is in those moments that creativity pushes her little finger deeper into your mind and pulls out nuggets of gold. Enjoy it.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

winter fog and brush creek

Winter solstice is near. Light will return. Till then I continue to paint more light to give solace. This is super large.... oil, marble dust and pastel.
Today, I will tell you the story of the mountain lion. 

the slough

after the snow

early morning brush creek

It was what happened next that made me know it was a mountain lion/cougar. After the big cat crossed the field it sat a a large rock outcropping. It's majestic chest puffed out, the mountain lion just watched.
When we first came to the residency we were given instructions about dealing with each type of animal encounter. An encounter with a mountain lion is extremely rare. But since the ranch is empty at this time and I was alone, making no sounds, I was fortunate to see one.
My training told me that when you spot a mountain lion you are never to bend down or run. 'Look big." I carried a walking stick and wore a large melon colored scarf. I attached the scarf to the stick- extending my width and opened my coat wide. Then I started singing. That alone would scare him! Carefully I began walking backwards while keeping one eye on the amazing big cat.
Here is a photo of me dressed to walk.
The lion kept his/her post the entire time I was in view. After this encounter, when I traveled alone, early morning or at dusk, I made a habit of singing. That way I always announced my presence. Once was enough for me.  ;-)

Right now I have a show at Gallery B in Bethesda MD. Many of my residency paintings are there. Come if you can. It ends December 30th.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Brush Creek 3

Ah, Back to Brush Creek. Undisturbed time in a beautiful place, talking with like minds, what more can a person want?
My days were structured. I would rise at 3:00/3:30 AM (I was still on east coast time so I decided why adjust? More focused time!) Walk at sunrise, most times with my friend Lori. Except the one memorable time when I was alone. (That is when I met the mountain lion. I'll save that story rather than getting segued now.) Return to work.  Lunch with others at noonish.....more work. Dinner at 6 ish. Talk, sleep and do it again. BLISS.
During this time I accomplished 12 finished paintings. Rarely can I do that. The reason was- I only used one brain the entire time. Never needing to stray from my painting brain was amazing. During the usual course of the day I (and probably you) wear many brains. For me it's painting, teaching and home/family. Not having to switch brains was bliss. It meant I was always thinking about my work, never straying from its problem solving.
 After many fruitful discussions with the other artists I discovered things that may be obvious to others, but not me. First, our group consisted to a good mix of people. Intentionally they do not group like with like, instead it was a group of diverse interests- Adam(composer), Lori (short story/essay writer),  Laurie (documentary film maker and writer), Ivy (graphic designer), Ryan (photographer) and Crystal (fiction writer.) The one thing we had in common was that no work exists without tension. Music, writing, film, music, you name it, tension must be there to have interest. It's what creates energy. I have always known the way I make tension. If you are interested I will post that list at another time. But now, I added another..... strength vs fragility.

Another nugget of wisdom from the residency. Always continue your search but be open to realizing it was really a different search you were on... not the one you first thought.

Monday, December 4, 2017

new show and Brush Creek

First I need to invite you to my new show. "Between silences"opens on Wednesday with the reception on Friday night December 8th 6-8pm. It is at Gallery B in Bethesda, Maryland. It will display many of my new works from Wyoming. Before I departed for the residency I had delivered all of my chosen work to my framer. I was relived that it was done..... but I had no idea that I would be so productive that I would bring back 12 new pieces to frame! Here are a few of them.

In total the show has 37 paintings.I will be doing a demonstration and talk on December 16th.
My next post will continue to share the magic of Brush Creek. Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Brush Creek Residency

Brush Creek Artist Residency was an amazing experience! It is one of those experiences I will remember forever. I don't know quite where to begin. I think I will divide it into categories that will provide manageable chunks.

The place: Gorgeous, hills, mountains, open plains and plenty of amazing sky provided an inspiring show every minute. Sometimes it was the pink glow for the rising sun on the brilliant snow and other times it was mid-afternoon with snow frosted trees contrasting against a blue sky. It was exquisite. The ranch was miles wide with some many trails that it was hard to complete half of them during my stay.

The People- Bruce and Elizabeth White are the generous benefactors of the whole program. It's so wonderful when people promote the arts! Sharon and Caitie run the program and they are simply adorable and  helpful in every way. There were 7 artists including me. It was so cool to be placed together with artists from different disciplines, one composer, one film writer, one novel writer, one short story writer, a photographer and one graphic designer. Here is a link to read about each. 

In my next post I will write about the experience of working there and then the following post will have a couple of stories. I'll leave you with two thoughts- this was a life-changing experience. And...... I am now in love with Wyoming.

Monday, November 6, 2017


So much of the work we do happens in our heads, before even picking up a paint brush. This painting (above) is one I did about 6 years ago. I liked it but was never truly satisfied. It has lived in my brain since. This summer, when ideas started to brew, I took it downstairs from the loft and looked, drew and thought. Pastel sketches happened (middle photo) and then I knew what to do. It's almost finished now. Some finessing with the temperatures in the larger masses and the small light mass in the distance, but I am close.

I leave for the residency in moments. The super shuttle should be here soon. In Wyoming they are expecting 1-2 feet of snow when I arrive! Wow! Winter here I come! (At home today the temperature will be 70 degrees!)

Monday, October 30, 2017

packing for my residency at Brush Creek

pastel from memory, a place I have painted 500+ times

There is nothing better for an artist than time and space to think solely about his/her art. In the 21st century is a a difficult think to find/or make.
I was fortunate to be awarded a residency by Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. They have an amazing ranch in Wyoming where they offers time and space for artistic exploration through immersion in the extraordinary beauty of the West. 
Writers, visual artists, performance artists, musicians and composers are the residents who are at liberty to structure their own time and activity while on a creative retreat.
Amazing, eh?!
I will be there in November till right before Thanksgiving. Right now I am packing my boxes and readying my boards. When I return I will post photos and stories so stay tuned.

BTW   I have a solo show coming up at Gallery B in Bethesda Maryland. Mark your calendar. The opening is December 8th, Friday 6-8 pm. It runs from December 5-30th. Hope to see you there. Toodles for now.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Important tools when working

3x8 on copper
Teaching is something I really enjoy. There are a couple tools that my students find most helpful.
First is the "instant check list." That is a list of the 6 major contrasts to consider in a painting.

1 Light and Dark
2. Cool and Warm
3. Shape- large and small
4. line and mass
5. Saturated and muted
6. Edges -sharp and soft

Place this list near your painting and think about how you check them off. When you run into problems it's usually one of the six offenders.

Nothing beats making a small black and white sketch in your sketchbook before making a painting stroke. Light and dark and shape will be addressed right there. While doing that take the time to write some notes about color and feeling.

4x6 on gold leaf
Painting to me is all about exploration and wonder. I wonder what will happen if I do.....  These two paintings are on metal. one on copper and one on gold leaf. Why you ask? Why not?
Enjoy your own personal journey.

Friday, October 13, 2017

10 year anniversary

11x11 pastel, from Bath County Plein Air

So here it is my ten year blogger anniversary...yay!

Time to think about my relationship with my blog. It began as a a tool. I was finally beginning the journey as a full time artist. I was super excited and scared. I didn't want to fritter away my precious time. So many artists had warned me that you need to prioritize. Now that I am not reporting for a "job" it can be difficult for family members to realize that it is a job and no I'm not free to use my time freely. ( I still do do some part time teaching.)
To help me I did two things, first I set a work schedule. Next, I decided that I would no long rely on photos, instead my work would be done on location or from my memory.

Thus the blog was born. For many years I blogged very single day, without fail. I painted everyday, including Christmas, rain and snow. Finally, after 6th year (I think) I decided I needed more time to work conceptually on the works and not worry about blogging each day.

That is when my work took an new leap.

Now I still love painting and blogging my small works outdoor and from memory. I still have a schedule that I adhere to. But it is through dedication and the ability to have my work on the brain all the time that I think it has grown the most.  It's like wearing a hat on my head all the time. Sometimes it feels just right. Sometimes it's too hot. The hat never comes off.
Things that help that I had no idea would help.:

1. reading poetry
2. meditation practice
3. walks to SEE
4. plein air competitions (now that's a love/hate relationship but it's always a benefit in the end.)
5. friends, especially my art friend Christine Troyer
6. remembering the creating is about constant play and not knowing.
7. creating from my heart and not worrying about how different and out of place my work can seem at a plein air competition.
8. my husband's undying support

Thank you to all of my loyal supporter and blog followers. A special thank you to Marking a Mark super blogger - Katherine Tyrrell. She noticed and displayed my work to a wider audience through her book and blog. Thanks Katherine!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bath County Plein Air

This week I am staying in a small cabin that is completely off the grid.  No cell service what so ever. This makes for state of silence in the mind that is a breeding ground for creativity. With small requirements on the artists this plein air festival is sweet. I love having the saturation of time and energy just on my art.  I call it bliss. More about the event when I return home.

Monday, September 18, 2017

we can't be creative if we refuse to be confused

pastel, 19x19

Embrace confusion.
We can't be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always begins with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for the new. Of course it's scary to give up what you know, but the abyss is where newness lives.  great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing. We must move thru that space that is bathed in fear. On the other side is the reinvented.

I was reading an article by Margaret J Wheatley titled, Turning to One:Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future. This is basically what she said, but interpreted to art/painting. It has stayed with me for the past year. Think about it and tell me what you think.

Monday, September 11, 2017


 I once read that a great painting has secrets that the viewer wants to know. 
Now I think about that. I see George Inness. I see his Home of the Heron than makes me want to be absorbed by it, like a sponge.

Monday, September 4, 2017

life's imperfections

I don't remember where I read this, but it has stuck in my mind for a long time now.

I will paraphrase,
"Scratches on the old record, this is what life is made of. It's life's imperfections that make it beautiful."

I find myself thinking about that when I create. This particular pastel made the idea tangible.

Friday, August 18, 2017

paint what you love

Washington State
I have been traveling (without my computer) for most of the summer. I have missed posting and will try to wrap up my thoughts in this one post.  When I thought about where I go when I travel I noticed a thread. I paint what I love.
1. I return to the same place, sometimes even the exact same field for 10 plus years, like I do on Whidbey Island
2. lI ook for the same concept over and over- fields or water with large masses

This year my obsession with fields extended to working with the horizontals and verticals that break the monotony of simply horizontal planes. Chincoteague and Washington State seem to rule. The bottom line is I paint what I love and know intimately. I am not searching for the next big thing. I am not painting postcards to "remember my trip."
The concept is already here, in my head.
Prince Edward Island
Think about it, why do you paint what you paint?