Sunday, December 25, 2011



  I painted this Holiday Still Life for a structured workshop that I taught one December.  What fun it was!  I even added just a touch of glitter to the paint in the poinsettias to give it a feeling of festiveness.  I hope that you all like it, and have a very lovely holiday and a wonderful beginning to the new year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Although I have slowed down for the next few weeks, due to the holidays, I am still working occasionally to get some art in.  I am working right now on another miniature.  This one is 4"x4", and a snow scene with a barn.  This is the beginning part of my painting process on it.  I have gessoed the whole of it, sides as well, as it is a frameless masonite board base.  I put in the beginnings of the blue sky and clouds and then added washes of brown to get my barn and fences positioned.  I might do a bit of changing on the positions before I am done, but this is how I start a landscape, whether it is large or small.  I hope to have this painting finished within the week, if time and the holidays will allow!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


The photo is 4"x6".  The painting is 3"x3".

Close up of  "A Montana Moment"
I am considering entering an art competition for 'miniatures only' this week, so I started out with a 3"x3" canvas and acrylics.  I chose a photograph that I took in the Rocky Mountains in Glacier National Park, Montana.  I did a vague sketch in pencil on the canvas itself, and then started painting in the sky.  I realized quickly that the biggest hurdle in the exercise was going to be conquering the canvas itself!  As you can see in the close-up,  the canvas is rougher than it looks.  Trying to put tiny details on those large threads became a major frustration.
First lesson in miniature painting....choose your base well.  I will be trying out masonite board next for a fine and even start.


This painting I experimented with a broader stroke, and a more painterly style.

This painting of the tangerine was where I experimented with a glistening finish and almost liquid look to the skin.

This persimmon was super simple, so I decided to add interest with a purple shadow.

I went for a soft pastel look to this tomato.

Finally, an apple with so many colors in it!  I love doing the shadows with strong light to make the subject pop.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I am needing lots of bright color this week, and  fruit is where I found it in my house!

The good thing about computer program painting is the lack of mess and cleanup involved!

I found this little cannonball watermelon all alone in the non-seasonal section of the grocery.  It had such a beautiful pattern and wonderful color!

The strawberry seeds were definitely a challenge.  My favorite part of this painting is the highlights.  They really make the fruit look real!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I have been lazy, lazy, lazy this week!  I have been doing some computer painting, and sitting out the snowy week.  While I will post these paintings, I found that it wasn't quite as fun for me as feeling the brush between my fingers, and getting involved with the paint.  Also,I have found that it is very difficult to take pictures of the paintings on a monitor.  My printer isn't much on color, so I chose to show them on the computer.  At least I am keeping my hand (and heart) into being creative!  Hope you like...

Monday, December 5, 2011


I tried something different today.  I did a sketch of a deer in pencil, and tore the edges of it.  I then layered it on Washi paper and pressed dried leaves.  I  like the effect but am finding it  VERY fragile. It is not a particularly practical way to do things.  I am sure that there is a medium that I can put over it, though it will more than likely ruin the sketch.  Experimenting is part of the fun!  80% of the time  it fails, but that remaining 20% is a miracle!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bird Doodle Inspired by Mola Embroidery

  I was searching my linen closet for a Christmas tablecloth to decorate for the holidays when I came across an antique Mola (I think I am spelling that right) embroidery piece that I had bought while living in New Mexico.  The applique and needlework have always fascinated me.  The beautiful designs are simple and inspiring!  I spent the rest of the afternoon making up a few of my own designs on scrap paper.  I never did find that tablecloth, but this doodle turned out to be my favorite design, and I am already trying to decide what I want to do with it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011



The holidays can be lonely for many people.  You can be surrounded by family and friends, and still feel isolated.  I took this picture while strolling the Tennessee River, and the stranded chair (no doubt used to sit on while fishing) spoke to me of that emotional isolation we all feel at some point in time.  Our lives are filled with people we know, work with and speak to...but if we keep our REAL self hidden, it can feel like noone really knows our heart and mind.  I think artists tend to isolate themselves.  Statistics say that artists, poets, and writers tend towards depression.  Their only self-expression is through their work, and if you are having a creative block and can't express yourself...well, then is the time to get out of your hermitage and surround yourself with people.  Go to that party you really didn't want to attend.  Volunteer your services where you think you can be helpful. Get out of the studio and walk in the woods, check out the latest art show, organize a cookie exchange with friends whom you haven't seen in a while.  As for me? I am planning a soup exchange, and a drive through the city to see the Christmas lights.  I am hunting up a few recipes for peppermint cocoa.  I am checking out the Nutcracker Suite as performed by the local dance studio.  I hope that all of you are finding ways to connect and enjoy the holidays!

Friday, December 2, 2011



I was able to visit one of my older paintings this week, one that was close to my heart and is now held by a patron of my work.  I painted it in 1997, the year that I was in Albuquerque, NM.  I was taking classes with Carol Allison, a classically trained artist who was able to get to Europe for some 'Masters' training herself.  She was, and still is a great teacher.  Her web link is :
One of the most important things I learned from her was the need to draw, draw, draw!  For this particular piece, I drew the still life, adjusted and redrew it again, and then drew it onto the canvas.  Then, I had to redraw it again as I was painting it, because what you see isn't always correct!  Tulips were particularly challenging, as they change their position with the passing of time.  They open their petals, they continue to 'grow' with every minute that you paint.  I grew to love the simplicity of the tulip, and even today it is one of my favorites because I learned every inch of each one I painted.  My appreciation for nature really began with this painting.  As did my regard for art history and the lessons we can learn from it.


Thursday, December 1, 2011



This is an early painting that I did for a family member who needed the comfort of a country church to look upon every day.   I have been inspired this year to make this painting into prints and even some Christmas cards to pass that necessary comfort along in an especially difficult year.  It is a church from my imagination, a combination of the little church that I was baptized in, and all the Currier and Ives paintings that I grew up with.  I enjoyed doing something with absolutely no reference materials, just creating what was in my heart. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


As you can tell by most of my art pieces, I am especially fond of working in pen and ink.  I love the graphic, monochromatic look of it, and the drama that it creates.  This set is part of a series I call "Hunter and the Hunted".  I hope to explore this in greater depth in the near future.  I think that doing a series of work will help me to become a bit better at what I love best.  It will also be a vehicle to communicate some of what I am feeling right now about life in this this moment in time.  I guess I am a bit paranoid, but when I turn on the news and see people being targeted, their identities stolen, robberies reported daily, and on a world level seeing such religious intolerance on a massive scale....I feel like some of us are the mice and some are the predator!  Yikes!  Art is a way of communicating the artist's thoughts, feelings and heart.  I have been told by some of my instructors over the years that I am simply drawing an animal, and there is no communication at all.  I disagree.  Strongly!  Every piece I do has all of my heart and soul in it.  I do hope that you can see through the subject matter and into the depths....

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Does your creativity bloom all the time?
You may not be normal if it does!
As with most artists, creativity for me waxes and wanes like the moon.  I can be in a high activity, creative period, and then...nothing!  I do have my little tricks to break free from the blocks, and you need a whole arsenal of tricks, since some of them work SOMETIMES, and some don't!  Occasionally, all it takes is a trip to the local gallery to be inspired by other artists.  This only works if I am not down on myself, comparing my work to the brilliantly talented 9 year old that already has a gallery contract in a big city.  Sometimes I find that communing with nature is helpful, inspiring me to create a tiny bit of that world in my studio.  Most of the time, however, just getting off on my own, to think, to dream, to plot and scheme works to break through that block.  Creativity comes from within yourself, and if you don't have a bit of alone time, it comes out in small spurts, incomplete and not quite thought out to its' conclusion.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The Nintendo art program is so much fun!  But it is also a great way to experiment with a style that you don't use very often.  I seldom use a graphic, slick style, and wanted to give it a try.  My favorite? The bug!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Like most artists, I like to take a sketchbook with me everywhere.  My hubby thoughtfully bought me a Nintendo art program that has been wonderful!!!  My little handheld Nintendo has a camera attached to it, and with the program, I just snap a photo, and it becomes my reference.  It has a graph that can be placed over the photo to help with drawing, and the program has a pencil and paint brushes.  You can even add 'water' to the paint to make washes and thicken the paint for heavy brushstrokes.  This is my painting of a raccoon that I photographed in my backyard.  While I cannot make a 'hard copy' of my painting, I get lots of practice in when I am traveling, and I can try out new color choices and work on my drawing skills.  I am constantly amazed by the technology being produced daily in this world!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


My drawing teachers back in college impressed upon us that the only way to do a good portrait or life drawing was to get to know their bones.  I never was good at portraits, so I thought I would get back to drawing the structures and learn a bit more.  I will never make a Norman Rockwell....maybe I should go for Norman Bates!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Have you noticed that kittens, like puppies and babies, are slightly out of proportion?  They have to grow into their feet and ears.  How interesting they are to try to draw ('try' being the operative word!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I seldom do architectural drawing, having a real disability in drawing a straight line.  But as my hubby has yet to take me to see the REAL Parthenon, Nashville was my inspiration.  I like the loose sketchiness that comes from
on-site art.  There is a bit of a panic and breeziness involved.  There is that illustrative quality that reminds me of the Victorian era children's books.  It takes real imagination to take you to the places, to dream and create in your mind that story of an adventure.  I admire illustrators so much for that ability to tell a story with a drawing.  Would that my art education had included a class in book design!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Christmas Cards, pen and colored pencil

Original Art--Graphite Lighthouse 2"x3"

Our web-site is fully operational, with the little bit of tweaking that is always necessary to make it pretty.  I am so excited!  This was one of our goals for the year, to be able to sell both sculptures and paintings on our very own web-site.  We are hoping to make it a very user friendly place to go, and easy to buy from.  NO SHIPPING AND HANDLING FEES!  We asked what we would want in buying from a website, and that was the big hidden agendas, fees, or double talk.  A place people can count on to be honest and reliable. 
      Check us out at 


Linear abstracts are such an inspiration to work on.  You learn so much about composition, about choosing where to be simple, where to be intricate in your details.  You can see clearly when the contrast is working, or whether you need to push it to the next level.  I learned so much from this piece!  It is not a show piece, but it is a special one for me. Are you personally connected to most of the art you do?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


We have such lovely deer here in Tennessee.  This young fawn came out to munch on the last flowers in my yard of the season.  I am happy to plant tasty flowers for the creatures of the forest! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


It has been a while since I sat down and thought about where I am going with my art...I have been kept so busy lately that I barely remember to do anything other than a sketch a day. As an ambitious artist, I want to do MORE. I spent a bit of time pondering my drawings this month, and looking back over the past year.  I think that I want to put together a collection...publish an artist 'book' of bird sketches! I find such joy and peace in those particular drawings, that I want to do more with them.  Do you think that this is a viable idea?  I am not sure that anyone will want it but me, but it is a thought...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


 Sometimes you just can't get inspired by anything.  Nothing looks interesting to draw, and you are in a rut, rut, RUT!  When all else fails, draw the first thing at hand. I have drawn silverware, nail clippers, and leftover spaghetti.  At least pen is being put to paper, and something about that drawing might spur on a miracle of an idea, a beginning to that masterpiece!

Monday, November 14, 2011


This drawing is actually one of the hardest that I have done.  I guess that some subjects are just difficult.  I had a rough time getting the wings to look transparent, and wasps aren't my favorite creature, as they try to invade my studio every fall looking for some place warm to hibernate.  Yuk!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I  have learned the hard way how to take care of your art supplies.  They are so expensive that you really can't ignore this part of being an artist! There are signs that show if you've been neglectful, or abusive to your tools of the trade (not to mention the emotional trauma to them!)

Does your brush look a bit ragged, with frizzy hair and a bad hair cut?

Is it loosing it's glorious locks of hair one strand at a time?

Is it starting to wobble on its' ferrule?

Is it feeling a bit flaky? (i.e. the paint coming off of its' handle?)

These are all signs of insufficient care and feeding.  The fix is simple.

NEVER leave your brush standing in water for several hours....wood is like a straw and will suck it up into the handle where the wood will swell and distort, causing peeling and flaking and gradual deterioration.

NEVER let your paint dry in the brush. The paint will build up at the base of the ferrule and eventually cause the brush to split hairs, not keeping its' shape. (Though if you do have brushes like this, DON'T THROW THEM AWAY! I have found good uses for them in painting foliage and textures that don't need a neat stroke.)

NEVER dry your brushes standing up in a container.  The water will soak back down into the ferrule, again causing handle damage.  Instead, clean them well (I use a vegetable based soap for both oils and acrylics) shape them and lay them flat to dry.  Then I can store them upright.

And yes, occasionally I even condition the brushes!  The natural hair brushes have similar needs to our own hair, and need conditioner to restore the natural oils.  I have used my own hair conditioners on them to tame those 'frizzies', letting them sit overnight before rinsing them out.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


This sketch, in ball point pen, is only 4"x4".  I spent over an hour trying to get in all of the little scales and sharp spikes that he has on his body.  I really enjoy the challenge of drawing reptiles!  I will be starting a new painting this week of a Collared Lizard in breeding colors, so watch for something really colorful coming up!

Friday, November 11, 2011


This big gal caught my attention. She was having a bit of a funky hair day, too!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


These drawings are 2"x3". I find it so peaceful to work on a tiny bit of nature when I am needing to be calm.  I suppose you would call these 'Feather Meditations'.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Am I boring you with all of my birds?  They are such a symbol of freedom to me that I tend to obsess.  I will try to vary my subject matter a bit more, but remember, I AM a wildlife artist more than anything else.  Ask for something different, and you are likely to get drawings of hickory nuts, pinecones, acorns and more.  Oh DEAR!  Any requests on what you would like to see drawn??? Leave a comment!  I will try to accommodate.  Meanwhile, this lovely little visitor to my woods is such a wonderful example of abstract design and natural beauty that I had to draw him.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



I love how the robin can fluff itself up to keep warm in the snow.  I always thought that they migrated south in the winter, but when we lived in northern Utah, I saw these hardy birds throughout the winter, surviving on the leftover berries on trees and shrubs.  I used my Pitt Brush Pens in shades of grey, and one in iron oxide.  These pens are more expensive than I would like, but the quality makes them worth it.