Wednesday, April 27, 2011


  In doing contour line drawings this week, I felt completely happy and fulfilled.  For those few moments, I was able to suspend the criticisms. I took joy in the creating, and the thrill of surprise when I looked at the creation afterwards.  It was exhilarating, free and I was fully open to the experience.  Is this what art is really all about?
I am less confident when I have ideas or am inspired by a thought, because I always have in the back of my mind the worry that the outcome will be less than what I envisioned, and so will be laughed at by others.  I need to concentrate on being more 'present in the moment', and enjoy the freedom of inspiration.  It is the first step, I think, in the journey of creating something that is expressing my own emotions.  I need to acknowledge that my inner thoughts are worth exploring and expressing.

Monday, April 25, 2011


In preparation for my collared lizard painting, I have been testing out a few possibilities for textures.  My usual way of doing reptile skin and scales is to individually paint each scale, adding up to 10 glazes for depth.  Truly a labor of love, but I am trying to become more spontaneous with my work.  I want to grow, show more emotion with the paint, and communicate.  With that in mind, I headed for the hardware store and found some concrete board tape to play with.  I thought that it would lay down the darkest 'shadow' of the scales, and I would paint through the mesh to add the highlights.  Nothing ever comes out quite as you think!  For one thing, the kitty decided she needed attention NOW, and jumped into the middle of the first batch of paint swatches.  After cleaning that up and trying again, she chose to dip her tail into my palette.  I had to chase her around the house a few times trying to grab her tail and wipe it down.  Thank heaven I chose to experiment with acrylics instead of oils!  I am still undecided whether the textures are going to work, but I had fun trying, and I now have to sit and think about the lizard and what HE wants me to do...........

Sunday, April 24, 2011



In honor of the holiday, I have made hundreds of origami bunnies to decorate my space.  I love the celebration of spring and life and all things new that Easter promises.  One of my favorite memories is visiting my brother's farm in the spring and seeing all of the baby goats bouncing about like they had springs on their feet.  What an innocent joy of life they had!  I wish for you all that joy of renewal and hope this happy Easter Day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Doodling stimulates the mind and tunes up the hand-eye coordination.  Plus you come up with the most wonderful ideas when you doodle!  I am sure that Matthew Baker (c.1586) a mathmetician and shipwright, and all around renaissance man,  was doodling when he designed a galleon based on the anatomy of a fish!


I have been reading a wonderful book...."DRAW LIKE DA VINCI" BY SUSAN DOROTHEA WHITE.  It is very insightful, and gives lots of practice sessions to help improve your drawing.  I have pulled a few little tidbits of information that has really hit home with me from this book.  
 One question that it asks and answers to a certain degree is "Why do I need to be an artist?"
2.  Drawing helps us to communicate what we can't vocalize.  WE NEED TO BE CLEAR ABOUT WHY WE ARE MAKING EACH ART PIECE.
The book also gives a few guidelines to drawing that I find rather intriguing.
a. Draw what happens around you.
b. Be careFREE not careFUL!
c. Creativity comes from chaos.
d. DO NOT ERASE- the lines you draw show movement, life and your own thoughts. 
e. There are no mistakes in your drawings!
I definitely recommend this book if you want to find more meaning behind your drawings, and I am loving the variety of projects suggested.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


When my life becomes chaotic, I find myself drawn to's structure and order are calming for me.  Today I folded 2 dozen standing rabbits, 3 elephants, 14 turtles, 32 butterflies, and 45 cranes. I obviously have control issues, and life is beyond all my control at this time!  The past 4 years surely have been beyond my control, because I have 9 large glass containers filled with origami animals. What on earth am I going to do with them all?!! 


I love when the earth laughs in flowers! What colors Mother Nature comes up with to inspire us, and what marvels that creep and crawl and grow and flourish!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have thus far used a fairly limited palette.  In the spirit of spring, (and ridding myself of depression forever!) I am trying out a new palette.   I use mostly umbers, siennas, and ochres.  Time to expand into rainbow colors!  I have chosen a beautiful Rose Madder, Cobalt Turquoise, and Hensa Yellow to start with.  Expect to see the results of my new color picks soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I find that art is a gateway to looking at the world in a different way.  Artists see uniquely.  They search for their reason for being through what surrounds them.  It doesn't have to be visual, either.  I knew of an artist who sculpted stone to cast shadows in a visually exciting way.  His work was two dimensional AND three dimensional.  It gave me goosebumps to look at his work.  And he was blind.  Wow! And I fuss about a blank canvas!  Artists have power to communicate without words, if they can only find their 'voice', their niche, their personal way.  I am finding my voice, slowly.    I am expanding my world.  I am learning what questions to ask.  I have found my rusty gate and I am forcing it to open!  I would be delighted to hear some  of your experiences in finding your own voice.  Please feel free to comment, to share, and to connect.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Last year I was invaded by red studio was completely taken over by about 30 of the little darlings.  While I am a softy when it comes to creatures, I am NOT willing to give up my studio to the enemy!  This year, the wasps are out early and in force.  I have taken some photos to get to know the enemy better and try to talk some sense into them.  We are in the midst of negotiations right now, and the wasps are not listening well, but we WILL come to a compromise, I am sure of it!

In Unison

In the spirit of having more fun with my sketches, I drew this.  In my mind, I am equating all of these happy, singing faces with the unity of artists...the family of people who understand one another and support each other.  While my life is a bit barren right now of that unity, I know it is out there, and I am working towards building my own community of art supporters.  We all need that feeling of belonging and unity.  And I am singing for all I am worth!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bird Sketches

The birds are busy in our backyard, showing off their breeding plumage and eating extra sunflowerseeds, and building nests.  I had an especially agressive mockingbird defending his territory this week, and tried to sketch his attitude.  I also sketched a cardinal that was looking a bit scruffy, almost shaggy.  He must be having girl bird problems and went on a seed binge!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


 It is lovely to be home again.  The dogwood trees are blooming and it is warm enough to drag my easel outdoors to paint!  I am ready to concentrate completely on getting ready for my June show, and actually have a bit of panic setting in about whether I will have enough paintings.  My sculptor husband has juried into an art show in Florence, Alabama with three of his works.  The show runs the entire month of May this year, with a special outdoor opening of artists and craftsman May 15 and 16. I am especially proud of him!  My own art show will be at the Missouri Educational Nature Center in Cape Girardeau, MO.  I will be showing works pertinent to the nature of that state, and I am delighted to be featured in the state where I spent most of my childhood, and went to college for my fine arts degree.  The sun is shining, the earth is waking up, and SPRING IS HERE! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sketchbook Hell

I learned something incredibly helpful today.  I was looking through a new book, "Sketchbook Confidential" by Pamela Wissman and Stefanie Laufersweiler.  It has tips from the private sketches of over 40 master artists.  I noticed that their sketches were much freer than mine, more expressive and creative, and in flipping through several of my own sketchbooks, I found myself rejecting many sketches because they were not perfect, they were unfinished.  The tiny 'clue bell' went off in my head - I wasn't sketching at ALL!  I was doing complete pieces and missing that all-important step of capturing the essence and emotion of the subject AND the moment.    Dear! Dear! Dear!  I am going to have to go back to step one and relearn a few things.  Especially: my sketches should be my learning phase, not perfect every time.  Will I EVER become an artist?!
I find lizards amazing! Odd thing to say, but from an artists perspective, think of the color! They change color with their environment, and attract a mate by flashing brilliant colors to announce their availability.  I would love it if my hubby would turn neon blue and flourescent orange to signal his interest!  Wow!     Today I sketched an Eastern Collared Lizard, and the ink didn't do it justice: however, this is a preliminary 'get-to-know-you' drawing in anticipation of a painting I have in my mind.  I want to break away from my usual high detail painting and do something flamboyant. Lots of color and a bit of texture, large canvas and fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


  I have LEANED on my art the last few weeks, something that I have never done before.  There have been many tumultuous times in my life when I have been unable to focus on the creative side.  My daughter once asked me why I couldn't paint during those difficult times, releasing the anger, fear or grief into that emotional medium.  I told her then that I couldn't paint unless I was at peace...I was wrong!  I simply didn't know how to express those feelings.  I didn't think I had it in me.  Experience is teaching me otherwise.
  I am finding new joy in painting my way through my emotions.  I have a million and one ideas bombarding me right now, begging to become emotion personified.  I can't explain why I have been pushing my emotions down into a tiny place inside me, but I feel as if there is a butterfly trying to break free, and if I am brave enough, you might just see a whole lot more of my creativity soon.  I am excited! I have a feeling of anticipation, like something new and joyous is about to happen.  I can hardly wait!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Iris Painting

After several days of intense study (remember I am NOT tech savvy!) I figured out how to download a picture on this alien computer.  I am really proud of this painting!  It is a departure from some of my more somber paintings, and it is a lot looser in style.  I had loads of fun trying to get that luminous quality that irises have, and I wanted a joyful emotion to shine through.  It is a small canvas...5"X5", and I turned it on an angle to get the most height and more, to look at it in a different way.  As a child, we are open to tipping our heads sideways, and turning upsidedown to look at things with a new perspective.  I wanted that childlike quality of seeing with this painting.