Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy New Year!

Another scene from our home in Renton, Washington. This is the bamboo along the street as it catches the light of the setting sun.

Link: Looking back and looking forward

Sunday, December 14, 2014

a few things

A few things:

Bursting into flame: 
This morning I received a comment on one of my posts. Here is an excerpt: "In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." 

How true! I have a file folder on my computer desktop titled "Ready to Paint, Look Here." When I come across an image that impresses me, I label it and put it in this folder. Then, when I am ready to paint, I look at the images for inspiration.

The reason I'm not painting:
The image above, taken yesterday, is our house-in-progress. It is the reason there isn't a lot of new artwork posted on this blog. Our completion date is spring 2015 but then there will be landscaping. Every few weeks I have an art spurt - the last one was five paintings in 10 days but now I am back to selecting the house gutter color, deck floor color, etc. If you would like to follow progress on the house (and new studio), here is the link to our house project.

By the way, it just LOOKS big from the water. The building behind the house is my husband's garage. My new studio will actually be smaller than my current studio but I plan to have my office in another room. In my current studio my office area takes up a quarter of the space. It should be interesting...while I am painting there won't be the distraction/temptation of incoming emails and there will be more space for the possibility of teaching in the studio.

Mentoring and Workshops:
In January 2015 I will begin to mentor a Canadian artist. It will be a three month one-on-one online test. If it turns out to be a good fit for my new life, I hope to do more of this beginning in Fall 2015. If you are interested in being put on a list for online mentoring or a workshop with me, let me know. Contact

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

a little gift

Autumn at Anahim Lake, pastel, 5 x 7 inches
"Autumn at Anahim Lake" is back in the Studio after its debut in the Northwest Pastel Society 2014 Small Works Show in Oregon. A little holiday gift for yourself or a friend? Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

annual tradition

"Tradition," pastel, 7 x 11 inches
It is my annual tradition to rework older paintings that I'm no longer happy with.  Today, it was "Road Show: November," a painting that has hung in one of our bathrooms for years. I have enjoyed it there but when I rotated art recently and hung something new in the bathroom, "Road Show: November" ended up in my studio and my painting style of five years ago began to bother me.

Brushing off Road Show: November from 2009
I unframed the painting, brushed the pastel off down to the ghost image. To bring the sky up in value, I applied an under-painting of white acrylic with a rubber spatula for a mottled effect. Once the acrylic was dry (just minutes) I began to work over all in pastel. This painting went through some very bad renditions and took way too long before "Tradition" emerged. It is named that for my annual tradition of reworking paintings - and because no other title besides Aaargggh! came to mind.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

saving grace

Doing that year-end thing again...reworking paintings that really need help. I gave this painting a partial rework - softening some detail, adding a darker value in the lower left to open up the entrance to the painting, extended the light grasses in the upper right corner to open up the view there but added some shadow to bring the eye back to the center and the road. Wiped off the orchard and added just enough color and detail to indicate trees...I am careful to keep them as an illusion, not a botanical rendering of trees. I'm happy to have saved what grace the original painting had and to have updated it with the signature of my recent work.

Monday, December 1, 2014

autumn memories from memory

Autumn Memories, pastel, 10 x14 inches
Late yesterday I unframed an old abstract pastel and began again with an oil wash over the top of the pastel ghost. It's fun to wake up to a painting foundation that has dried overnight and is ready for the pastel. This one went through some pretty bad stages until I put the iPad reference photo away and began to paint from memory. No specific place in mind...just what I know about marshy, brushy scenes. I like it. See the reference photo and the oil foundation below.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

daily grace in steps

Soon we will be leaving our home of the last 27 years. It is bittersweet so I am gathering memories in the form of pastel paintings. "Daily Grace" begins with a recent photo of our front yard, shown here on my iPad next to my pastel easel. I refer to this photo to block in the scene with an oil wash under painting.

I use a tough brush wet with mineral spirits to lift oil paint from the sanded surface (Wallis).

The oil wash must be completely dry before I begin applying pastel.

Daily Grace, pastel, 10 x 13.5 inches

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a sense of place - again

A Sense of Place III, pastel, 10 x 13 inches
Yesterday I posted my first pastel painted more than a dozen years ago. Today I went back to the easel after six weeks away and painted A Sense of Place III. Third time's the charm?

Monday, November 24, 2014

my first pastel painting

Plums and Blue Bowl, pastel on velour paper, 8 x 7.25 inches
Dah-da! My first pastel. For those who have studied pastel with me, you know this story.

When I began working with pastel, I thought velour paper would give me the soft look I was envisioning. I applied the pastel to paper and then dutifully took the painting outside and gave it a couple whacks on the backside (per Pat Meras who talked who generously gave me a crash course in pastel during a Women Painters of Washington luncheon about a dozen years ago). Oh, oh...what is that on my shoes? It is my painting!  Pat had no way of knowing I would be working on velour or that I would whack so enthusiastically.

There are pastel artists who work successfully on velour and if you will contact me, I'll make you a great deal on some velour paper! Plums and Blue Bowl will be available for purchase at Daily Paintworks 11/25/14.

an ahaa moment

An ahaa! moment about my creative process. Read more here...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

keeping a hand in it

I haven't painted at my easels for six weeks, setting art aside to focus on building the house. I've been testing house paint on walls but that isn't really the same. Today I was explaining to my son the importance of keeping a hand in your art (he is a baker - an artist whose medium is flour). I was referring to his work but when I hung up I realized I was also talking about myself. I'm a different person when I'm not creating. As a little step back to my art for better balance in my life, today I posted the last painting I completed six weeks ago, "Bejeweled Woodland," as a print available for purchase.

Bejeweled Woodland, reproduction of original pastel art.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drawn from the Heart

I am honored to join Kay Dewar in a two-artist colored pencil show, "Drawn from the Heart," at The Dorothy Liberty Gallery, within Trinity Parish Church, 609 Eighth Ave, Seattle, WA. Show dates are November 20, 2014 to January 4, 2014. The Opening Reception is Sunday, November 30, noon to 1:30 PM.

These colored pencil drawings are in my Collection of the Artist but with our upcoming move and trying to down-size, all drawings will be available for purchase at this show.

Autumn, colored pencil, 17.5 x 21 inches
Heartfelt, colored pencil, 24.5 x 17 inches
Comfort and Joy, colored pencil, 20 x 18 inches

Cherished, colored pencil, 21.5 x 17 inches

A Charmed Life, colored pencil, 21.5 x 17 inches

Twelfth of Never, colored pencil, 23.75 x 18.5

Worldly Goods, colored pencil, 19 x 25 inches

A Fine Romance, colored pencil, 16 x 20 inches

Falling in Love Again, colored pencil, 25 x 18 inches

Illusion, colored pencil, 25.5 x 20 inches
Matters of the Heart, colored pencil, 12.5 x 16.25 inches

Jewels, colored pencil, 6.75 x 6.75 inches sold

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

delivery to Scott Milo Gallery

Yesterday Jay and I (along with dog, Annie) spent six hours in the car. We delivered nine paintings to Scott Milo Gallery two hours north in Anacortes, WA for the show that will open Friday, November 7th. Lunch, a couple errands and a drive-by of a house in Ballard to see the planned exterior color for our new house...all made for a long but fun day.

Monday, November 3, 2014

out with the old, in with the blue

A couple years ago I received a Best of Show award at a gallery whose wall color was called "Cork." The color was so complimentary to my cool-hued work that I came home and painted my studio the same color.

For the past few days I've been painting over "Cork" with "Water's Edge," a Benjamin Moore blue color introduced to me by my grandniece Lanie. I'd like to include it in our new house so I'm testing it on my studio walls to see if I like the color but also to see if the Sherwin Williams folks can match the Benjamin Moore color (my builder prefers Sherwin Williams). I think they got it 99% right and I love it but probably not for my new studio. I'm thinking the master bathroom.

Shown here against the lovely blue is my painting "September Song," pastel, 16 x 20 inches along with the 8 x 10 inch plein air study for the larger painting. Both paintings will be shown at the Plein Air Washington Artists (PAWA) show, "Nature's Gift of Water," at American Art Company, Tacoma, WA December 4, 2014 - January 31, 2015.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Have you heard of Around the World Blog Hop? I hadn't until artist Sunny Avocado invited me to participate by answering four questions about my work. I love Sunny's art, especially her self-portrait and gooey peanut butter and jelly sandwiches paintings.

1. What am I working on?
No artwork these days. We are building a new home and my time is spent on the millions of decisions necessary. It took a whole day to verify window sill heights in the house and garage. Last night, instead of sleeping, I spent several hours in the middle of the night weighing the pros and cons of white paint colors for our trim, inside and out. It is as if I am creating this huge (expensive) painting. My color choices must be correct but all I have now is little color chips. I look forward to the sheetrock stage (probably around Christmas) so I can see the rooms and how they relate to one another and the available natural light.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? I change my genre every decade or so. It isn't some grand plan, I think I just get bored when I start to feel really comfortable with a medium.

In my twenties I was a fashion illustrator working in pen and ink, then a twenty year sabbatical to raise children. When I returned to art in my 50's, I created colored pencil still life drawings. The pastel landscape was the genre of my 60's. Now, in my 70's I am experimenting with oil paint, landscapes and still life. So, I don't really have an answer to the question. When I come across beautiful work of others, rather than compare my work to theirs and how it might be the same or different, I am more interested in their handling of the medium. When I get back to painting, I will probably continue abstracting my subject and letting go of detail.

My twenties
My fifties
My sixties
My seventies
My seventies

3. Why do I create what I do?
I guess I've already answered this question in terms of subject and medium so perhaps another question might be Why do I paint? I have asked myself this question many times. I guess the bottom line is that I need a creative outlet and for the past 25 years that has been art. I paint to fill gallery commitments.  Each time I try a new medium, it has been helpful to me to enter competitions to get feedback from Jurors and Judges. But, as I focus on our building project in the coming year(s) I suspect the reason I create art will change. When I have time to paint, it might be more exploratory -  to satisfy my curiosity. Oil bar and encaustic look interesting!

4. How does my creating process work?
A clean studio a must, I can't work amid chaos. Good light, something I'm still experimenting with. I like the routine of painting weekday mornings. I usually have only one or two paintings in progress at a time, otherwise I feel like my attention is spread too thin. I used to work exclusively from reference photos but painting from life or memory gives me a fresher look. And, knowing when to quit on a painting is a big challenge for me as it may be for other artists.

And finally, here are the three very talented artists I have invited to blog next Monday, November 3.

1. Kay Dewar is my long time friend; we met through colored pencil. Kay is a kind and thoughtful person - we cheer each other on in life and art.

Kay Dewar

2. Marilyn Webberley is an oil painter I met through Women Painters of Washington. She is generous with her time and knowledge, even walking me through putting oil paint on my new Open Box M.

Marilyn Webberley

3. Carol Flatt is from my distant past - we went to school together.  It was a surprise and pleasure to  reconnect a couple years ago through Daily Paintworks and see her work.

Carol Flatt

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

another rework

Bejeweled becomes Bejeweled Woodland
Another rework. I unframed Bejeweled (framed but never shown) to work the upper left corner but "way leads unto way" (Robert Frost) and I saw more and more that needed changing. I'm happy with all of it now. Back into the frame and renamed Bejeweled Woodland.

Monday, October 6, 2014

fall rework

Signature of All Things reworked to Wild Lilac
Early in 2014 I painted "The Signature of All Things." Today, as I prepare for a November show at Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, I came across the painting, still unframed. I've been working in oil since last spring but I couldn't resist uncovering my pastels for a little rework. Now, it is "Wild Lilac."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Of Time and Treasures

My show, Of Time and Treasures, opens tomorrow and runs through November 4 at State of the Arts Gallery, Olympia, Washington. Join us at Artwalk tomorrow night, Oct. 3, 2014, 5-7 PM. My thanks to gallery owner, Deb Martz Moody for showing this new body of work.