Thursday, August 30, 2012


I am trying something just a bit different, with the encouragement of some of my Facebook friends. I am going to share with you some of the 'still lifes' that are constantly evolving in my own house.  Almost everything that I find in my 'treasure hunting expeditions' to the flea markets and antique stores are chosen with the idea that they will eventually make it into one of my paintings.  I collect odd things, things that catch my eye because of it's color, or graphic sensibilities. I am an avid collector of tea paraphenalia (infusers, tea pots, tea scoops, etc) because of my childhood.  My mother always told me that tea will cure almost everything.  Before I take an asperin, I try a cuppa tea first!  But everything is fair game in this household, as my hubby is an avid collector of all things geological.  I hope you will enjoy this new direction.  If not, I welcome your comments to the contrary!  This particular 'still life' is a favorite in my china cabinet.  I collect Thousand Faces tea sets because of it's amazing color pallete! I have several paintings planned just on the colors of these dishes! The zebras are a nice contrast to all of the color, with a graphic kick for interest.  If you squint your eyes while looking at the grouping, you can see a possibility of all sorts of amazing paintings!


This final seashell is so colorful, yet so tiny!  It is the size of your fingernail, and what I find most interesting about this type of shell, is that no two are exactly alike.  They even have differences in their colors.  Their stripes are sometimes wide, sometimes not there at all.  My children used to love finding them at the beach, as they seem to burrow down into the sand, and you have to dig them out. A friend of mine tried to make soup out of them one year, but OH! The nastiness of it! The sea gulls and terns like to make a snack of them. I like to draw them. They are fragile, thin shelled creatures loved by all!  I don't know what I will draw next week, but there is certainly enough out in the world to choose from!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


This sea shell has such a simple shape, but the tiny details intrigued me.  The patterns were intricate, but simple. A paradox of a shell.  I identified with this shell on a personal level.  I seem simple on the outside, like there is not much there.  But inside I am a tangle of emotions, my patterns are so confused as to be Escher-esque! In other words, I am just like everyone else...there is more to it than the simplicity at hand.  It gives me ideas on a whole new series of paintings...

Monday, August 27, 2012


In keeping with the sea shell theme, I have drawn this Spider Conch shell.  As much as I love black and white, I crave color in my life, and this shell has so much of those wonderful sunset hues that it almost transports you to the tropics!  I have a few more shells that I want to draw, so hang in there...

Sunday, August 26, 2012


My talented hubby took this amazing photo yesterday.  I am so inspired to do an abstract movement painting from this...I just don't think I am quite up to it talent-wise!  He said that the butterfly eventually settled down to posing for him, but that this was one of his favorites, as well.  It is so easy to get caught up in being representational with our art work.  We are so focused on the technical aspects of our work that we forget the heart, the soul and most of all, THE ART of art!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Isn't this a wonderful, mosaic-style pattern?!  I am amazed by the incredible graphic nature of a creatures' abilities to camoflage itself from enemies.  The pattern stands out vividly on a plain surface, but I am sure in its' natural setting, you would not be able to find it on the sea floor. I am considering doing a series of camoflage paintings.  It is really starting to come together in my mind, what might work.  Hmm....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I have always been fascinated by the patterns in nature.  On the back burners of my mind, is a project of a fancy photography coffee table book, featuring all of the natural stars in nature.  Did you know that if you snap a cottonwood tree twig at the joint, there is a perfect 5 point star inside?!! An apple core cross-sectioned has a star pattern. Amazing!....anyway, back to of my favorite sketching projects is seashells and their patterns.  This shell, I used a sepia brush pen (extra large) to draw the patterns, and a small grey tone brush pen for the shading and outlines.  Sepia, to me, is a washed out warmish sienna.  I don't know what they were thinking with this 'sepia'  but you work with what you've got.  Next time I will use watercolors, I think!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Remember, not everything I publish is going to be perfect!  This is a quick sketch that I did this morning as an idea for a notecard for a friend.  I am looking for a good quote to go inside the card about life being a puzzle, and when it comes together, and all the pieces fit, the world is amazing!  Or maybe we all have a place in this world, a connection that makes us feel like we fit in?  Hmmm.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I don't often do landscape sketches, because for me, they are so dang hard!  I like to challenge myself, however, and get out of my comfort-zone.  If you don't take a few risks, you are forever stuck in a rut, stagnating and boring yourself as well as those around you.  This sketch is from a photo that I took many years ago.  I liked the bare rock in front of the lake, and the busy-ness of the pines before the peak.  I want to stay comfortable with sketching landscapes, so that I can do several on location when I travel.  I hope to travel a bit more than I do right now, when the price of gas goes down, or we get an electric vehicle!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This trout would definitely be more beautiful done in watercolors, but for this sketch, I was struck by the incredible patterns of spots!  Isn't nature amazing to give this small creature such intricate detail, all for the purpose of camoflage?  If you were to look at the fish in the water, the light and dark spots would look like the sun glancing off of stone in the stream. Sneaky! I had a lot of fun following the dot to dot on this fish...I look forward to doing a painting along that vein.  My studio is in crisis right now. It is having an identity crisis of the worst kind!  I have been cleaning out the garage, and boxed up all the extras to go into the attic (which is entered through a tiny, Alice-in-Wonderland type door in my studio.) The studio is filled with those boxes, awaiting cooler weather to enter the hot furnace of an attic.  I look forward to autumn, and a chance to reclaim my territory!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Armadillo from our front yard!
I love taking my own reference photos, and it is super easy, especially these days with the incredible digital cameras in every size, for every budget. I use my smart phone camera for impulse pictures, and I have a large digital Olympus with all the fun lenses for zooming in on subjects, and doing some close up photos.
American Toad visiting my rock garden

As you can see from these 3 reference photos, they don't even have to be the best quality.These are a bit blurry in places, and the composition is off, but that is why they are reference photos...I can refer to them for the basic idea that I had for a painting.I sometimes use 4 different photos to put together an interesting painting. 
Some kind of wasp that loves my front yard hickory tree

I keep most of my photos on a disc or memory stick, and can then use my laptop to bring up the photo during a painting session. This way, I can zoom in on a trouble area to see the details, and back off from it to see the overall view. I can also manipulate my photos with a photo shop program, and distort the contours or make it black and white, so that I can see where the contrast lies.
I am not saying that I paint exclusively from photos, just that the convenience is there for certain situations. It is really hard to get an animal to sit for you while you paint, so you sketch it in person, get the feel of the creature, the gestures and movements, and finish with photos and any extra helps that you have in your studio.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This is the Longhead Coneflower.  I have thousands of them in the meadow out in front of my home, and I love them.  They are beautiful and whimsical, and a bit silly.  I was delighted to find Pitt Brush Pens came out with a Landscape Series of pens, in the warm yellows to deep browns.  They were perfect for my flower!  Now if they will only come out with 6 different greens, I will be set for life...The flowers have really suffered this year with the strange weather and drought.  Luckily, we got a bit of rain this week to bring them back to life. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I went to the Arts In McNairy fine arts and crafts meeting tonight, not just to support my local artists, (though that is the noblest reason to go) but to get a chance to meet with other artists, and meet those people who "get it".  Who understand what an amazing thing it is that artists do.  They lay their hearts and souls out for all to see.  Sometimes they get trampled over, and sometimes they touch someone else's heart.  It takes courage to be an artist.  I am in the learning stages of Art: Heart and Soul 101.  I have been an artist for many years, but I haven't been so willing to take risks and lay it all out there.  Because of that timid part of me, I haven't grown as I have wanted to. 

I have loved ones, family and friends, who have loud opinions on what art is, what it should look like, and where I should go with my own art.  While well-meaning, they haven't really asked me what I like, or want out of my art.  I am a Libra...if that means anything.  I love to please everyone.  I want to do representational art for my hubby, watercolor for my mom, abstract for my children, children's books for my friend,....I am so confused by wanting to please all, that I haven't listened to ME. 

Going to the arts meeting tonight has solidified the fact that each of the artists were doing what they loved.  I need to think....what are my most favorite paintings that I have done?  what pieces do I feel have my heart and soul in them?  what do I want to say?

I guess this, too, is a part of the creative process that I have started this blog for...learning who I am as an artist, and meeting those of you out there who are finding your way, as well. 

Monday, August 6, 2012


It is the hardest thing to draw something transparent!  This is an antique cut glass parfum bottle that I had.  I used pencil, thinking that it would be easier to get that see-through effect...I don't think that it was too successful.  I did love drawing the shape, however.  I find that nature is very forgiving, with no real hard edges and exacting measurements. Graphic items are much harder, and force you to look harder, double check everything, and measure!  I will continue to try to figure out perspective.  And I have learned that the mind plays tricks on only THINK you know what you are really seeing!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


This was just a little bit of a project...I took bits of wood and painted on them.  They are 1"x2".  I tried to do the sunflower with a bit of Van Gogh twist, but my brush wasn't quite the right size.  The butterfly was freehand, not trying to be realistic at all.  I just loved the colors together.  I sprayed some varnish over them when dry, and put a magnet on the backs.  They brighten up the kitchen...if I were to do it over again, I would do a bit more planning ahead, but for a fun 10 minute play day it wasn't a bad effort!  Some days when I feel low, I want lots and lots of pure color to brighten things up a bit! I felt much better therapy is definitely a useful field to go into!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I am a long-time tea mother taught me early in life that most things can be cured with a cuppa.  I have found through experience that she is right.  I loved doing this watercolor, mostly because I knew that after I finished, I could have my tea.  I just wish that I could do a scratch n'sniff on this painting, because Lady Earl Grey smells so yummy!  Bergamot is one of my favorite flowers and flavors, and this tea has a hint of citrus as well.  Yum!!  Now to make some scones...