Thursday, May 31, 2012


I tried to show the lushness of the forests in Minnesota with this watercolor.  I used a lot of thalo, blues and greens, to get an almost unnaturally deep color that can get really overwhelming if you have ever been there.  The woods are thick, (I am sure Big Foot, Sasquatch and Yeti all gather there for family reunions) interspersed with big lakes, little lakes, and medium sized lakes.  It is truly an amazing state!  Years ago, we met family up at a cabin in the depths of the Minnesota woods to go fishing.  What amazed me most was the boldness of the bald eagles and great blue herons.  They weren't bothered by the noisy groups of people.  They posed, preened, and went about their business without a bit of self-consciousness.  I could learn a thing or two from them...



Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Peace in the Forest

I don't do a lot of watercolors...I find the complete loss of control terrifying, if you must know!  I wanted a special feeling for this particular subject, however, so I braved the medium and it came out rather nice, I think.  I find that my soul seems to come to rest when I am out in nature, and I really needed that feeling of serenity this week.  Painting something in nature calms me, makes me feel more connected to the world, and a bit less lonely.  This painting was done from a photo that I took while visiting the upper northwest of the U.S.  Parts of the countryside are lush and green, and filled with pines and deer. I wouldn't mind living up that way...I was born under a  wandering star!!!


Monday, May 28, 2012


My life is starting to get back to normal.  The construction crew is gone from the house, the leak is fixed, new carpet in place.  I finally felt the urge to draw again!  But the only thing left in the fridge was some overripe bananas and a sprig of cilantro, so sprig it is!  This was actually more of a challenge than I first thought.  There is a lot of detail in a tiny bit of greenery, and I was determined to get as much out of it as possible! Next on my list, grocery shopping...

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I am preparing for the Botanical Drawing class that I will be teaching June 14, 2012.  I wanted to have several examples ready for the students, so I dug out some of these sketches to use.  I do a lot of outdoor sketches for identification later, and I usually add lots of color and detail notes either on the same page or the next one.  I am looking forward to sharing some of my enthusiasm for daily, useful drawing.  So many people never draw after school ends, and they get scared of the paper, nervous that they will make mistakes and are reluctant to even try.  I want to share with them my need to record everyday life in pictures, and show them that you don't have to be perfect to draw, just feel the NEED.  I look forward to this opportunity, and I hope my students enjoy my efforts!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


This is a sketch that is a study for a painting in acrylic that I have started.  The mushroom is spongey and really difficult to render believably!  One of my first dates with hubby was to go mushroom hunting for these yummy morels.  We were in the Trail of Tears State Park in Missouri, and the May Apples were blooming.  The mushrooms are a real challenge to find, hiding near fallen logs, under low trees. We found just enough to chop and saute in butter and garlic.  Yum!  These days, our son takes his son mushroom hunting, and we are delighted to have passed on the enjoyment of a treasure hunt and the fruits of the land. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


One of the things that we always did throughout our travels was take the children to as many of the National and State Parks as possible.  My greatest role models in the art world were those artists that painted the wild lands of our great nation in such a way as to inspire the American people to protect them. I wanted my children to see and experience the incredible places, like Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier.  This is a sketch in gel ink.  I find that gel ink is difficult to work with because it is so consistent...the flow is the same throughout, and you can't get a lot of variance in it.  My favorite pen to work with is an old ballpoint pen that is running low on ink, and gives a nice skip to the strokes.  I guess I like the occassional 'accidental' line that has some surprises to it!   Yosemite was one of my favorite memories...while we were visiting, we were lucky enough to see a black bear with her twin cubs.  Mama bear was catching trout out of the stream and feeding it to the babies.  What a miracle to experience!

Friday, May 18, 2012


I recently downloaded a camera app to my android phone that has really got me interested in manipulating my reference photos.  Called Pixlr-O-Matic, it has dozens of filters and add-ons that can take a plain photo to another level.  For instance, I took a very basic picture of this iris as a reference for a painting in the future.  Using the filters to deepen the colors, and heighten the lights and darks, it shows me what I might be able to do to change my painting from a 'copy' of a photo to an imaginative, even illusional painting.  I am excited about what I can do with the I can make the painting sing with more contrast, more color, and even add abstract elements to it for excitement.  There are a lot of free apps on the market for phone photo references that can stimulate your creativity, activate your imagination, and bump you out of the rut you have dug yourself in. (I am talking about my recent slump into inactivity!)  I saw a cartooning app, a retro camera app, and even a distortion app.  I am going to have some fun trying out a few of these!  I would love it if you wanted to share your attempts with me...leave me a note on my comment board, and I might add a few to my blog (with your blog link, of course!) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I know, I know...I am lousy at architecture!  Maybe that is why I keep trying to do it.  Every building I do is slightly askew, and I am pretty sure there is one more column than what I put in here,  but aren't some buildings so interesting that it is worth trying?  I have lived in some pretty unique homes over the years.  I am thinking about the historic housing on the military base in Cheyenne, Wyoming...I am sure it was haunted!  There were a few doors in the attic that refused to stay closed, although I would latch and bolt them.  The kids and pets refused to go up into that space (so it was perfect for my studio), but I did have to share with the occasional spirit or two!  The stories I could tell about those houses...! Anyway, I drew this old building in Nashville, and wondered who haunted it...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Because I am named 'Rose', my family and loved ones are very consistent about sending me roses for every celebration.  I cannot grow the darn things, so this is usually the only way I see them...with baby's breath, and ribbons.  I was excited to visit a friend recently who actually does grow the darn things (I find them difficult, prone to aphids and their thorns hide and bite unexpectedly...not at ALL like me, I am sure.) I loved drawing the buds and the leaves!  So much fun, and the lines were exciting.  The rose is soft petaled, so I added grey brushwork to give it a touchable look, and I left the abstract leaves and buds for interest.  Hope you like it.  I am planning a small painting with similar features, though I haven't decided what colors yet.  Any suggestions?

Monday, May 14, 2012


Despite all of the construction and destruction going on in my household, I found a tiny corner to call my own and finished this 4"x4" painting.  While it is not my best effort, I am fairly pleased with the limited palette.  I really loved living up north, and missed the snow this year...we didn't have a single inch here in Tennessee!  I had to fight off my clingy kitty, who was busy having a nervous break down due to all of the workman in the house (not to mention the amazing amount of noise!)  At one point, she actually walked right through my palette and ended up with a very blue behind...washing it off just made it worse, because she now has a BABY blue bottom.  I hope to have the repair work from the leak in the walls fixed by the end of the week, and peace and quiet to create very soon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I had to lock the kitty in the bedroom for half an hour, but I finally finished the marble painting!  I am pleased with the reflections, and with a suggestion from hubby, I added an extra stripe of yellow to brighten it up.  I can't say I enjoyed starting the painting with a black was really difficult to photograph it afterwards!  It was interesting, however, and I plan on trying some other colors to tint the canvas with.  The kitty was excited to get the marble afterwards...she chased it for hours!

Monday, May 7, 2012


This week has been so weird, with the plumbing on the fritz and the T.V. broken, that I thought I was going to lose my marbles!  So, with not much to do, I decided to start a new painting with a marble in it.  The 'goal' was to learn more about reflecting and translucent surfaces.  The learning curve has been more to keep my kitty from getting to the marble before I get finished!  It was a battle of wills, and the cat won!  Before I can complete this painting, I will have to reposition the marble and get the lighting readjusted, and pretend not to see the new chip in the glass where the cat bounced it off the table...across the kitchen floor...down a flight of stairs...through the tea room...into the laundry room...and under the wash machine!  All of us artists must suffer for our art!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Life definitely has a way of intruding on an ideal artist's routine...this week alone, we had a flat tire that developed into needing two 'special order' tires...we had a plumbing problem that looks like it will end up ruining a main wall and all of the carpeting, and the television gave up the ghost!  (I won't mention LAST week's catastrophies). 

When life throw's so many things in your lap, creativity is needed...not for painting or sculpting, but for coming up with solutions.  I read a book once called "A Whack on the Side of the Head"...I think that was the name of it, anyway.  It was about coming up with creative solutions  for businesses, and the workplace.  It discussed thinking outside the box, and coming up with solutions from a variety of angles. 

In my case, I am trying to look at the sudden influx of problems and catastrophies from a positive point of view.  Less T.V. means more time to do constructive things.  Maybe the home owners' insurance will help to pay for new carpeting that is desperately needed...and the new tires will make it safer for me to go see my mother (over 200 miles away) for Mother's Day more safely.

These are just small problems, I know.  They just happened to occur at the same time, so it is a bit overwhelming.  Creative thinking is definitely something I need to keep on every aspect of my life!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I discovered sketching with a woodburner last month!  I chopped the top half off of a gourd, and freehand-sketched some feathers around it.  I used a fine wire woodburning attachment to 'draw' the feathers.  It smelled wonderful, like I was burning leaves in the yard!  I definitely recommend a fan for air circulation in the room, as my eyes burned a bit from the smoke.. I painted the inside of the gourd with black acrylic paint.  Then I drilled holes at the top of each feather, and threaded bits of turquoise through, so that the strings would hang down and rattle about.  I still need to find time to use some Johnsons' Paste Wax on it as a light sealer, then it is ready to hold odds and ends of my clutter! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012


June 14, 2012:  I will be teaching a class at the Missouri Conservation Education Center on drawing botanicals for nature journaling.  I will do a brief lecture on the history of botanical drawing, show how to start a drawing, and the remainder of the class will be outdoors, doing the actual drawing, taking notes, and using color pencil to make the best drawing you can to identify the plant.  The last 10 minutes of the class will be using reference material to identify the plants.  I am looking forward to the opportunity to teach something near and dear to my heart...'Nature Heals All!'

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Creative Funk Ramblings

I have been at an all-time creativity low the past few months.  It hit me when my daughter turned 30 that I was fast approaching the ancient age of 55.  Normally I would ignore the numbers and continue merrily along, but the past year has shown an increase in weight, some heart issues, and the occasional panic attack that has gotten me to feeling vulnerable.  With my self-esteem at an all-time low, along with the creative flow,  I haven't been producing any paintings, which make me so happy.  I have been trying to learn how to meditate (I can't seem to slow down my brain enough) I have taken up doing mandalas for peace and serenity, and I have been trying to get enough nerve up to take yoga classes.  Unfortunately, my attitude pretty much stinks!  I am a horrible procrastinator.  What is a girl (or old woman) to do?  I have great plans for wonderful paintings, and hope they will be in creation sometime soon. Just a little bump in the road....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Many years ago, hubby started picking up stones shaped like hearts for me from the many places that he traveled. (One of my favorites is a heart he found by the Ionian Sea)  I decided this week to do detailed sketches of each stone, which I will eventually have bound into a hardback book for hubby for our anniversary...each stone carries with it a special memory and a lot of love.  Notice heart stone #3 is one he picked up for me last week when we went diamond mining!