Wednesday, April 26, 2017


My residency with the National Park System had a profound impact on my work and my heart. I will be forever very proud of my experience and my small role in our nations greatest resource: our Parks. 

Back from their year on display in Oregon as part of the centennial celebration of the NPS, my paintings will now hang here in my home for awhile so I can enjoy them (and be reminded to make more time for the things I love - like hiking and painting.)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Weekend Warrior

When work is all consuming, deadline, product launching madness, it is a guilty godsend that I signed up for a painting workshop a year ago and just had to escape to the Sierra Foothills for a long weekend.

Thank you self for being a planner!

Also incredibly relieved that I actually, physically, can paint right now... Just barely. This is another long story, but I shredded and partially tore my right rotator cuff a couple of months ago and thanks to PT and acupuncture I am finally FINALLY able to move my arm!

So off I went to Murphys.

A terrific little town that has a Gold Rush history and a wine country renaissance. 

The workshop was with Kathleen Dunphy, who has the rare talent for being a terrific painter AND a really good instructor. On the agenda for weekend learnings: painting with a limited palette and using only big brushes.

What's a limited palette? It's a lighter load that's for sure! All those gorgeous colors in tiny tubes back in my studio...they weren't invited. Only Permanent Red, French Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Lemon and Titanium White. We could also add dashes of Naples Yellow (to lighten and warm) and cool grey (to tone and neutralize.)

Surprisingly you can create about any color you need with these colors and it requires you really observe your scene/subject matter carefully and make up puddles of color you see BEFORE diving into your painting. This slowed me down in a good way, and then you have your local colors ready to go and can add nuances of light and temperature as your painting progresses. I think I'll stick with it for awhile...

Harder to handle for me was getting used to a #10 brush on an 8x10 panel! You have to really move your arm around to achieve different strokes and line weights, which might normally be fine but when you have a gimpy arm... It was not ideal.

First day of the workshop was a lot of good lecture and learning to mix paints and an indoor still life study of pears.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fido Kahlo (Boston Terrier)

This particular piece came about from an art group I started at work. Each month we do a 10x10 piece based on a theme. 
April's theme : Circles

I'd created a Fido Kahlo (Pug) painting a few years ago for a Cinco de Mayo show and remembered how fun it was to paint.

I originally thought the big beads of the necklace would serve as the "circles" but decided on a graphic nod to 'sky' - small blue circles that would make a tie-in to the theme more blatant.

I've never been a series painter, but I think that I'll make an exception for the Fido Kahlos.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Cold Studio, Warm Memories

Started another painting! I'm loving being in my studio day after day. I'm a happy lady.

So thankful for these full days to paint AND for my oil filled space heater! These mornings have been absolutely frigid! (I'm in California so that means it's probably 40°!) 

John Day Fossil Beds has 3 distinct and official sections to the park:
Painted Hills
Sheep Rock
Clarno Unit

Painted Hills. First, amazing. You most likely have never seen anything like it. Ever. It also happens to be the "easiest" or "closest" to visit. Quotes "" meaning 2+ hours from Bend rather than 3+ hours to get to Sheep Rock ;) Regardless, a lot of people go there. They may not make it all the way to Sheep Rock and Blue Basin, which is a real shame, but happily, that section does get a lot of visitors.

Truly, it's like another planet. Nothing to see but colored striations of reds and golds, some blue and purples, and a lot of orange red. Color. It's everywhere. And not just color.... Folds. Fingers. Jutts. Burps. All kinds of crazy formations, it's fantastic.
Sketching the scene. Pastel on Trekell wood panel. 18x24 
Roughing in shadows and color blocks.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Present to Myself...

Best Christmas present: a solid week of nothing but painting in my studio! 

Rarely do I have the opportunity to paint multiple days in a row. Well, unless it's the weekend and I have nothing else to do! Usually I paint, I run errands, I do some cooking, I hike, I garden... but not Christmas week this year. I painted!

Selfishly, unapologetically, I painted. All day, every day except Christmas Day. It was glorious!

I wanted to finish the Sheep Rock painting I'd started in November. This was such a fun painting. One of my favorite things I've realized is that when I'm painting these larger landscapes I absolutely remember standing outdoors, painting the scene en plein air. I remember if it was hot, if it was windy. I remember if someone came by, if I spoke to them. Painting these paintings in my studio is like creating a time portal. I love it.

Sheep Rock is so spectacular. It's rhythmic, heroic, and fittingly the 'icon' for the park. The Visitor's Center at John Day Fossil Beds looks out to this mountain. Visitors sit out with their lunches at picnic tables and admire its unique beauty. My last day at the park was spent painting this scene. I think it's amazing.
Sheep Rock. 18x24 oil on Trekell maple panel
(Someone told me they thought they could see a woman in a flowing dress in this painting. I think that is a beautiful, subliminal accident. Do you see it?)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eat, Drink, and be Merry!

... And that was the theme for the 2015 Sarasota Chalk Festival held in Venice, Florida.

FLORIDA! A mad dash, red-eye flight, crossing of fingers to make it both in and out of Denver in November, and a 5:15am arrival in Tampa. Ooh, tired eyes, crooked neck and very excited heart!

Sketch and color study in hand, I signed in at the Festival office and Set out for Miami Avenue.

For the Eat Drink and be Merry theme... I knew I didn't want to create an image of anyone eating and definitely not anyone drinking, that made Merry my inspiration. Merry; I started thinking of laughing, happiness, joy, spinning, twirling, dancing, music. MUSIC!

After some sketching of people dancing followed by others of musicians, I drew a woman holding a moon like a Lute or Bass. Moon = Luna: Luna and Music: Luna's Merry Music of the Spheres!

Okay that last part is a bit of a jump, but after I'd finished my sketch and color rough, I was still massaging the title of the piece. I sent the art to my Mom and Sister and my Mom wrote back that made her think of The Music of the Spheres. Huh? What?

Thank you Wikipedia- I soon learned about a long ago concept of Pythagorous which in its essence describes the planets as consonants and whole notes - celestial sounds and music. 
Perfect! "Luna's Merry Music of the Sheres."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sheep Rock - in the studio

A day of firsts.

Gathered my paintings, photo reference and sketches from my Residency in John Day Fossil Beds; set up 2 big easels; selected an 18x24 maple, cradled panel by Trekell; and worked up a series of thumbnail sketches to decide on the composition for my new painting.

First landscape painting to be created in the studio (instead of Plein Air.)

First of the final paintings, the last chapter, of my National Park Service Artist Residency.

First weekend in a really long time that I spent in my studio.

I'm very happy with my start today and it was fun! I was so happy out there!