Sunday, December 30, 2012


3"x3" landscape in acrylic, of Glacier National Park, MT

This is an excerpt from my art journal 5 years ago.  Upon reading it, I realize how far I have come in my confidence.

----"Why do I panic at the thought of finishing a painting?  For me, I know the exact moment I was warped for high school art teacher would encourage and instruct me - until I came to the finish of the project.  Then she would take my painting away from me and finish it herself.  That told me that she was sure I would ruin a painting should I ever finish one.  So I never finish a painting without a LOT of panic, double-guessing, and anxiety. I need others to tell me if it is good or not. I feel NEEDY, and worse, I feel like the art is no longer MINE.  I have compromised my own feelings and emotions and put in someone else's.  How's THAT for self-sabotage?!

At one point, I was so frustrated with my inability to finish a painting that I started using smaller and smaller canvases.  I was eventually painting 2"x3" pieces...and still unable to complete them.  Worse, if you have ever talked to a miniatures artist, they are much harder to do than the larger one.  Great care has to be taken on a small surface to use it properly - composition has to be perfect.  Values must be perfect.  I had inadvertently painted myself into a corner..."


I collect a lot of books, new and used, to give me inspiration.  For some reason, calligraphy has always inspired me with the shapes and movement of script.  I see an eventual change in my art , heading in the direction of script and nature.  I don't know what it is yet, but I am inspired!  What inspires you?  I find it very easy to get lost in the CRAFT of art...altered books, playing with color, fabric painting.  Sometimes I forget to be inspired by the playing to continue with my painting.  My mother-in-law calls it 'idle hands making the devils' playground' , but my mother sees no harm in the play.  Guess who I will listen too?

Friday, December 28, 2012


I am a volunteer at the Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Center, and once a year we go on a statewide trip...this one to Kansas City. While there we got a chance to use a huge hand-operated press.  On this piece, I painted the glass plate with a roller, then took cottonwood leaves and painted them atop the glass. A paper was laid over that and I hand cranked it through the large padded press.  What a surprise...a piece of nature art!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


'Open Spaces' by J. Anderson
This painting was done when I lived in Colorado, and traveled to Wyoming where my grand children and antelope lived. The open spaces and even the stormy weather inspired me to paint in impressionist styles on full sheets of watercolor paper.  My daughter, Rose and I were also taking a life drawing class at that time...what fun!!!
(This painting is 26"x32", owned by daughter, Rose)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas to all of you!  I wanted to thank you all for being interested in art, the creative process, and the beauty found all around you. It is that interest that brings us all together and gives us a common thread. The new year is fast approaching, and I have some big goals to think about for the upcoming future of the blog.  If any of you would like to comment, add your 2 cents worth, and offer suggestions, I am delighted to entertain them!  Meanwhile, enjoy life, enjoy color, enjoy yourselves!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Happy Holidays to all of you!  The holidays always stirs up a malstrom of emotions for me, and my creativity either peaks or plummets.  This year it has done a bit of both, so don't expect anything particularly great from me...however, if you would like to email me with some of your creative endeavors, I would be delighted to put them on my blog in the next few weeks!  Do you have something you have done that is especially close to your heart?  Send it to me, or leave a comment so I can contact you.  Meanwhile, I will try to reach through my moody freak-out, and get creative!  Have a great Holiday, everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I need the gentler moments,
No crisis every day,
To grow and be creative,
And find my artists' way.
Van Gogh could use his anguish
To fuel his passions' fire.
But me, I need tranquillity
To find my heart's desire.
Da Vinci found his calling.
Picasso and Rembrandt, too.
But I struggle daily to find my place,
Scared to know, afraid to do.
Art is a mirror of yourself,
The soul a door, the heart a key.
Exposure means taking a risk...
What if it's NOT for me?!
I need the peaceful moments
To calm my fears and start.
It's all inside, each stroke, each line,
I'm an artist in my heart.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Old King Cole's 4 and 20 blackbirds, baked in a pie
 I have been trying to work up some ideas for the Artist Challenge, subject of Fairy Tales. I did several sketches illustrating some of my favorite stories, but none of them really seemed to be right for a painting, so I am not sure if I will actually participate in the challenge or not.  Regardless, it has gotten me to thinking, experimenting a bit, and testing my 'wings' in the illustrative venue.  I am pleased to have pushed myself, even though the drawings aren't particularly good.  I need to be able to tell a story with my picture, and it isn't there yet...wish I could take some classes on this!

This is from the Shoemaker and the Elves

Monday, December 10, 2012


I always have a puzzle with several pieces missing laying about.  For years I hunt for the missing pieces, holding on to the puzzle in the off chance I will find them...knowing full well that the cat probably ate the pieces in retribution for shooing her off the puzzle table! Being one to never waste anything (lesson learned from my mother, who survived the Depression) I made this silly reindeer.  Three puzzle pieces, a pin back, googly eyes, a tiny pompom and a bit of paint.  Warning...I make one or two every year, and they fall apart after a lot of hard wear.  Maybe I should add a fourth puzzle piece to support the three in the back?  Anyway, Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 9, 2012



This is a blast from the past, isn't it?  These pins were really popular in the early 1980's, and sold by the dozens at church bazaars. I decided to make one just out of sheer madness, as the one I bought so many years ago fell apart.  I always wear it with my December scarf to keep from losing it in the wind! All it is...a broken cinnamon stick, a pin back, and a bit of paint. Oh, the creative juices are flowing this week!

Saturday, December 8, 2012



I took a painting workshop a few years ago from the impressionist landscapist, Billy Kirk (now deceased).  He was an amazing, thought-provoking instructor who was able to give me some valuable insights on art.

"In language, you can define words in a dictionary, but a true artists will form words into poetry."  In other words, an artist can technically be good, but it is the emotional aspects that turns it into real art.

"Take horror films - the most terrifying ones leave the most to the imagination."

This is the first time anyone has expressed it this way to me.  I keep being told by 'family' that my work is too detailed.  Now I am seeing that it isn't so much that, as I am relying too heavily on my technical training...not allowing my emotions to come into play.  Once again, I am hiding.  How do I allow that emotion to come out?  I have no idea, but I know what to work towards now.  Thank you, Billy Kirk, for your instruction, insights, and encouragement!


This time of year brings out the Artsy-Fartsy in me (as my younger brother calls it!) Today I dug through my bits and pieces drawer, and found a few scraps of felt.  I designed this snowman around what I had, which was just enough for one 3 inch Christmas pin.  I have, in years past, been busy with making penny rugs, so this pin is reminiscent of that style.  I used embroidery thread to blanket stitch around everything and add a few features.  I was quite pleased with the results!  Since I miss snow the most at this time of year, I thought a snowman was perfect.  Hope you like!

Friday, December 7, 2012


What an epiphany week!  I discovered that my fears of 30 years have come true.  My avoidance and procrastination of creating art was due to a terror that I would find out that no one wanted it, no one appreciated my art, no one would buy my art.  I was afraid that hubby would depend upon my abilities and sales and I would fail.  My epiphany?  I was right!  Today, at this moment, no one is buying my work.  I can't help monetarily, and I feel like a failure, inadequate and less than mediocre in my chosen profession.  Worse, my family is helpfully telling me to change this, change that - reinforcing the idea that I am not good enough.  Can I go any lower than this?!!

On the positive side, I have faced my fears and survived, not intact, but still here.  The depression will fade in time.  And with the worst behind me, I can possibly move forward, make some progress and stop fearing the worst.  Life isn't easy, but it's better than none at all.  So I need to pick myself up and sort through all the helpful advice, and throw it all out to find what is in my heart.  What do I want to do? How do I want to express myself?  Should I change my style (which I am told is 'out')?  I could really use a week alone with my paints to find an answer...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I have this little tiny dream, this secret artist's retreat for a week or two!  I read in the back of my art magazines about workshops in exotic locals...Italy! Denmark! South America!  It all sounds exotic to someone sitting in the middle of a landlocked state.  I would be tickled to go to a retreat in Seattle, or Connecticut. Not really exotic, but different, picturesque and near an ocean.  Oh, and to go and concentrate just on my art! What a wonder! To talk to other artists, share experiences and ideas...such a tiny dream. Such a BIG dream!  Someday, I am going to do that...

Monday, December 3, 2012


This is the companion sketch for my Southwestern cards.  As you can see, the feet of the boots both have spots...I LOVE ostrich skin boots!  Someday I will own a pair..and yes, there is a story behind that!  I never met an ostrich that wasn't bad tempered and as mean as my mother-in-law.  I think it only poetic justice to be able to wear them someday...

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Owl Christmas Ornament

Hubby and I are donating an ornament to the Arts in McNairy (AIM) organization for a silent auction fund raiser.  We chose one of my hubby's owl carvings on an antique thread spool.  I then chose the beads and baubles to string it all together.  We hope that it will bring a little bit of money to the excellent cause of bringing more culture to our small county!  We have some wonderfully talented people here in western Tennessee!


I am working on a few sketches for cards.  Several of my friends are fans of the southwestern genre, so I drew boots, and used a Will Rogers quote to give it a sense of whimsy.  Hope you like it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Really, it is ridiculous how awful this sketch looks of this strawberry cupcake with white icing.  The real tragedy of it is that the sketch is right on!  It was my baking that was so hideously bad!  The cupcakes came out flat, some were even sunk in. No amount of frosting disguised the fact that they were lacking fluffiness. I did warn my hubby many years ago, however, that I wasn't exactly the domestic type.  I am frequently moody, often forgetful and flighty, and ALWAYS disorganized!  He thought he could change me....ha!

Friday, November 30, 2012


O.K., don't laugh too hard! I know this is way outside my realm of art subjects, but I had to do a bit of a tribute to my sister-in-law's chickens, and the look of surprise they probably all had when they WEREN'T made into chicken noodle soup, but sent to the old chickens' home to become all broody! I always take lots of pictures when I go up to the farm, and have some wonderful photos of goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, horses, etc. that I have no idea what I will do with.  We shall see...

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is a drawing that I have been working on for a few weeks.  I love pattern, repeated shapes and stark lines, and decided to build a sequence.  I used a fine tip Pilot pen, and actually went into the second pen as I wore out the first one.  It is an 8x10 piece.  At the moment, I am not sure if it is an inspiration for a really large painting, or something else.  I like where it is going, and not too pleased with the darkest feathers.  Overworked it, I think!  I am actually especially happy with the bottom half of the sketch, where I left some of the feathers to the imagination.  It gave me the chance to bring out the shapes and splits in the feathers, an irregularity that I like very much.  It developed completely by accident, and I am as surprised by the result as can be!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I continued with my sketching by the bonfire, and the acorns were a bit more stable.  They didn't roll about too much, and I was able to play with the shapes and sizes a bit.  My biggest issue was that the pen kept skipping, as it was at the end of the cartridge.  I, being content by the fire and having downed a comfortable half glass of wine, was too lazy to head back indoors to hunt up a new pen!

I had been using the rake to keep my fire under control, and was pleased to be sketching it with a bit less of a need to make it 'representational'.  I do have in the back of my mind that need to become an illustrator ( and have been watching the Illustration Friday website with much interest) so I wanted to play a bit more with loose lines.  I am actually more pleased with this drawing than the other two from the day.  I have a LONG way to go!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I decided to get back to my sketching while I mull over my next painting project.  Today I headed outdoors, and started a lovely bonfire out back.  The day was a bit chilly, the leaves smelled wonderful burning, and the squirrels were irritated....altogether the perfect time for a glass of wine and some sketching!  As you can see by the sketch, I was more interested in my surroundings, the sights and the smells, to really concentrate on my first drawing.  I also had to deal with a bit of a breeze that kept blowing my leaf about.  And then there was the smoke from the fire...which chased me from chair to chair!  Crappy drawing, but big memories.  I will be doing this again!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Well, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a chance for contemplation and gathering of thoughts (or nuts).  I am greeting the holidays quietly this year...osterity being the key word!  I recieved my instructions for the critique art class I am taking.  The next class is in February, but we are to do 3 paintings...#1 painting is to inspire #2 painting, which is to inspire #3 painting, which is to be connected to #1 and #2...confusing!  I am wracking my brain to figure this one out!  I have been working on some sketches, which will be posted in the next few days.  I seem to be fixated on pattern right now. Do you find that when emotions are high, and stress is at its' peak, that you draw or paint more, or less?  I used to go into hiding when the world crashed in on me, and just eat!  These days I want to escape the nasty old world by creating something.  I would be very interested in hearing your experiences on this!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Laugh if you will, but I am so excited about Thanksgiving this year that I had to draw a turkey for it!  This is Thomas the Turkey, spared because so many in the family are vegetarians.  I will be using this sketch for making place cards at our family gathering this year.  We have so much to be thankful for, and this is the first time in several years that my family has been able to get together.  I put a hat on Thomas in honor of my husband, who goes nowhere without his adventure hat on! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  


I have submitted my "Wyoming Winter" painting to the Artist's Challenge today.  I love working with Rusty, the fabulous webmaster...If you want to get your work out into the world, she is so helpful!  This painting is of a ranch on the northwestern side of Wyoming.  I wanted to make a big impact with a tiny painting (this is only 4"x4"x2") so I kept my palette minimal and used pure colors.  White, Ultramarine Blue, and Burnt Sienna with a bit of Burnt Umber.  I used really thick white paint, to give a feeling of heavy snow, and all the other colors were put on as thin glazes. I really do miss the snow these days. The northwestern states has such pure, clean air! Maybe someday I will be able to talk my thin-skinned hubby into moving back! 

Go to  if you would like to see all of the submissions for the Artist Challenge!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I am having  so much fun watching the squirrels try to circumvent our latest invention to try and keep the little rascals off of our birdfeeders!  We have set it up so that they have to do a highwire trapeze act to get to the feeders, and they are very vocal about the inconvenience.  This squirrel sat on the branch for a long time, spinning his tail and chattering his annoyance.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


It is already the season for pots of tea and heart to heart chats with family and friends.  This is one of my favorite teapots (I have one for every season!) I plan on doing a painting of it sometime soon, as it is a cheerful yellow with a copper band.  Maybe I will add a hat and dormouse to the still life!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Pardon the brown paper, but I am using up old sketchbooks, and they don't photograph well.  These are a few character sketches that I was doing the other day while waiting at the Dr.'s office.  I enjoyed trying to capture the facial expressions of the bad-tempered children, and thought that the gentleman who seemed so calm and sweet must surely be a vampire in disguise!  After adding the fangs and pointed ears, I felt it only fitting to add horns to the irritable young man who was being very nasty to his mommy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Sleeping cat
 Here are two final example of Sumi painting from this past weeks' class. As you can see, the paper makes a lot of difference, though I am sure I could iron it smooth at some point.  Both are rice paper. The cat (painted by my mother, J. Anderson) is done on a higher quality paper with a good resiliancy.  The bottom one (my attempt at a Cherry tree) was done on commercial grade rice paper, which almost disintigrates when wet. I am thinking it is probably used by chefs!
Cherry Blossom Tree

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Sumi books and accessories
I thought that I would post a few of the paintings done in Sumi brush strokes (practice, of course!) Aren't they so free and loose?!
These two paintings were done by J. Anderson, my mother and an amazing woman! I know that I inherited my inquisitive nature and need to learn from her!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


J. Anderson (Mom) demonstrating

Students painting

I was gone all week, up to Missouri to assist in teaching a class on Sumi painting.  My mother is an accomplished watercolor painter who learned Sumi painting from Mei Shu from Albuquerque, New Mexico many years ago.  He was a contemporary and good friend of Georgia O'Keefe.

The class was amazing and fun!  We had 16 students and three extra aides, who were kept very busy. Our first challenge with this beginning group was to teach them how to hold the brush, as this is essential for the brush strokes.  It was my job to keep reminding them..."keep it straight!" I also did individual demonstrations while the head instructor (Mom) demonstrated in the front.  It was a cheerful group, with a good sense of humor and a need to learn.  Yeah!  I always find that teaching is the best way to grow as an learn so much more from your students!  I learned that you can enjoy your art and the journey of it more when you have fun, loosen up, and keep your mind open to new possibilities and happy accidents.  I grew a little bit this week!

Monday, November 5, 2012


I finally finished the painting, and I am quite pleased with it!  The creative process was enjoyable, a challenge, and I am happy with the end result.  This painting actually had started out as a painting for a critique class (see previous blog submissions) but as I painted it, it became clear to me that it would work out for the "Bits and Pieces" Artist's Challenge as well.  The painting is a tribute to my wonderful mother, who really found her niche in life about 6 years ago.  She was in her mid 70's, and not wanting to settle into a retired life of doing nothing.  She had the opportunity to volunteer at the Missouri Conservation Department as an educator for children, and fell in love with it! She discovered a wonderful second career teaching children about nature.  I felt that the Bits and Pieces that I painted were a signature for her renewed enthusiasm for life, and an inspiration for me.  Thanks, Mom, for showing me that life continues to throw opportunities our way to grow and give and love!
To see the entire competition, go to http//   And for you artists out there who want to get your work on the web, join them.  They are so supportive, and even do a youtube slide show of each challenge! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012


My art class with Fred Rawlinson was very productive this week. My favorite part of it, however, was his philosophy on the mental processes of a piece of art.  I want to share with you, AS HE STATED IT, the LIFE CYCLE OF AN ART PROJECT
1.  This is a GREAT IDEA!!!
2. Shucks! This is harder than I thought!
3. This really SUCKS!!! It will never work!
4. Depths of despair.....(but I've spent so much time on it! I better pull out all of my bag of tricks to make this work!)
5. This still sucks, but I MIGHT finish it...
6. This was a GREAT IDEA!!!
Fred did say, that without this cycle, the ups and downs and emotional connections to your work...the painting won't be a part of you.  It might be easier sometimes, harder others, but you have to have a connection to your work.  I am starting to believe him....

Friday, November 2, 2012


I have been working on the details of the mallard duckling today.  I kept the beak low key, with only a few brush strokes to indicate the nostril and hard edges.  I have started putting in the eye  and beginning of the duck down brush strokes.  I tried using a fan brush, but it was not working at ALL, so I switched to a small round, and it is going better.  Note to self: fine detail requires a smoother canvas...switch to gessoed board? I am pleased with how things are coming out, and unsure how to finish off the background.  Same old story....

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I have been blocking in the colors for the duckling today, and almost complete with the rubber duck itself.  I am not too happy about the shadow across the back of the plastic...I will try to remedy that and give it more substance.  Also, the ducklings' beak is off.  I need to fix that before I go any further!  The light source and the shadow are conflicting as well.  Thanks to hubby for catching that fairly early in the process!  Can't wait to see what happens with this tomorrow!


I thought that I would show you what my palette looked like for painting with my 'mother' color.  As you can see, my dominant color is Cad Yellow medium, and I have mixed out from there with a fairly limited palette for the Rubber Duck painting.  I have a tiny bit of Cad Red Med., lots of purple, and a bit of Payne's Grey (my favorite color!) along with white.  I tried to use zinc white, but it was just too transparent, so switched to a basic mixing white.  My titanium white was so thick I could barely get any out of the tube.  Yikes!  Need to head to the art supply store again!



I have begun the underpainting, trying to keep in mind that all of my mixes (in acrylic) have to have my 'mother' color in it..Cadmium Yellow Medium. 
I ran out of Titanium White!! Had to make a quick trip down to Corinth, MS to find some. I wanted to get a light base on my ducks, especially the plastic one, to reflect under the yellow and look as bright as possible.  I have decided to completely paint and finish the rubber duck first, then move on to the 'real' duck.   Can't wait to see if it comes out like I envision it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Today I started the process of getting my sketch on canvas.  My hubby gave me a wonderful new gadget for my birthday...a mini projector!  I took my beginning sketches and transfered them into the projector digitally, and projected them onto the canvas, where I then sketched in charcoal.  I made a few changes to the position of the ducks, enlarged the rubber ducky for better effect, and bowed the legs of the duckling for a bit of whimsy and humor.  Now I am ready to get the painting started! The hardest part of the whole process? Facing that white canvas!  If I can only conquer that fear of not being perfect (which never happens anyway!) and just paint, I would be a much happier person. A new painting is terrifying!  And wonderful! Crazy!! They are going to send me off to the looney bin one of these days....

Monday, October 29, 2012


I am working on a painting for my Art Critique class coming up November 1.  The assignment is to use a 'mother' color, choosing a particular paint color, and using it throughout the entire painting, in EVERY mix!  I am choosing for my mother color Cadmium Yellow Medium.  It is a warm color, a bright one and a color I am drawn to.  It reminds me of golden afternoon light and comfort.

We were encouraged for this assignment to pick any subject that we wanted, but as I was doing a 'mother' color, I chose to do a tribute to my own mother.  I will explain further when the painting is completed, but this will have a rubber ducky in the painting!  I loved the basic color, and the challenge of making it come to life and work throughout the painting.  Thank goodness for taking the occasional art class, and getting together with other artists.  Despite the stereotype of the hermit artist, we need that stimulation, and the inspiration of talking 'art'.  Not that I don't LOVE getting some alone time....