Thursday, February 24, 2011

on the road

"use everything in your life to create your art..." ya-ya's

I spent the last week back east between MD & VA. The weather worked out for me in all my traveling around, missed the snow in MD. Warm days in VA, went for a hike and remembered why I love walking in the woods. As my husband & I hike around Pandapas Pond in Jeffereson National Forest we took a side path. It kept getting thicker and thicker with wild rhododendron. I kept thinking how I would like to be back there when it is in flower. Along the edge was a small creek with wonderful exposed roots. I plan to go back, sit along that creek area and do some drawing.

Saw some interesting ducks on the pond, will have to do a bit of research to find out there name. The body was more like a swan and they swan as if they were running in the water. One of the trees along our walk had scratch marks, my guess, black bear and a pretty good size one. Each year I try to find new places to hike and new things to draw.

Back in AZ I am getting ready for a plein air workshop. This one I am taking, not teaching. It is always good to take a workshop that pushes you to try something new. Plus, will be going to locations a bit north of the area I tend to hike and paint. The AZ Arts Alliance is hanging their spring show on March 1st plus the juried show for the 250th Veterinary Medicine Celebration. Both shows open March 5th. The Scottsdale Artists League begins their 16th year having a paint out at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. This will be my 3rd year participating. This next week is going to be very busy, looking forward to being outside, working and hoping to get into that zone where you think of nothing but what you are creating.

I will post pictures from the workshop and receptions. For now here are a few pictures from Blacksburg, VA

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Memories of Alaska

Going over some pictures, playing with new programs and came across this little video of the bears at Katmai. This trip inspired much art work, enough to have a show with nothing but works inspired by Alaska wildlife.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


"Art is a passion or it is nothing" Robert Fry
"Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing" Marc Chagall

With love in the air, thought these quotes worked well for this week. Very close in thought. Lately, there has been much talk about having passion for what you do. I have always felt that each person has their own personal artistic talent. It does not have to be something you create and  put in a gallery. Each person must find their own passion and see where it takes them.

My passion has put me in touch with the environment, nature. It has taken me to new places, gets me outside and helps me to take a moment to just breath. We follow our passion, taking what we see, creating our work in our style, sharing it with you and hoping you will enjoy the work of our passion.

Just for fun, I signed up to do a project using one color - I picked red as it is taking me out of my comfort zone. My first choice was blue but thought if I am going to do this let me push myself. I decide since I am in AZ I should do red rocks. Here is the pastel that came out of this little challenge.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sometimes you have to re-invent yourself....

Last week I spent four days at a cabin in the West Virginia woods -  along with a few friends/artists/writers.  It's an annual event for us.  A time of renewal and reenergizing.  I've had a tough time getting inspired this winter, even though my favorite subjects to draw are the skeletal branches that the trees display this time of year.  I can lay in bed in the early morning and watch them materialize as the sky lightens up for the day.  Why I've had trouble finding the 'just right' image this year, I don't know.  But, the four days of no cell phones, no TV, no internet and no interruptions helped.  I did some pencil and pastel sketches, and played with some new tubes of watercolor.  It's good occassionaly to free yourself up with no real expectations of 'finished' art.  Now that I'm back in the studio I'm working on some new scratchboards.  So I feel I've finally found and fed my Muse.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

en plein air

"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life." Rachel Carson

Saturday was spent outside, I went to the Gateway Trail head in the Sonoran Desert. I set up my easel and painted in pastels. There were lots of artists there painting along the trails. It was a wonderful way to spend the day. The painting so-so, sometimes it is enough just to do the work and let it go. I do not think of myself as a landscape painter. I find it hard to bring all those things I see into a small format. I believe that is one reason I zoom in on the details, finding that cluster of leaves, that tree branch, the bird in a nest, the small things. But, saying that I will continue to work on the larger view, working looser and faster. It is my artistic exercise.

Friday, February 11, 2011


"In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes before I can get into the flow of a piece I am working on or a piece I am just thinking about. I, like so many artists procrastinate. I find other things to do: organize, clean and bake. Once I get passed the baking stage I am usually good to go. Being in AZ with the wonderful clear blue skies and warmer temp's it helps to fight off the winter grey day feelings. Going outside and breathing in the air pushes me to work.

This is the high season in AZ, art shows and events everywhere. This weekend I signed up for a plein air event the Sonoran Desert Parks & Trails is celebrating a big anniversary. They have ask artists to come out and work along the Gateway Trailhead. No charge to the artist, calling for a lovely day and by committing myself to a project it makes me get out there and work.

I need deadlines, I need a reason to make myself work, sometimes. There are those moments when you create just because it is what you need to do or want to do. I always have ideas, just need to reel them in at times. My focus is finally after many years come down to animals, trees, leaves and things in nature. Pastel has been my main medium of choice but still like to play with other materials. While in AZ I stay with pastels, they are easy to transport for plein air and to work with in the condo.

This month is preparation month, finishing framing, finishing half done pieces, sending in applications, getting ready for workshops, plein air weekends and shows. Procrastinating ends today, yesterday I baked today I work! Maybe, I will take the owl I am working on outside, now that the winds have gone away.

Rio Grand Gorge, N.M.
Lost Dog Trail, Scottsdale, AZ

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

if a tree falls...

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." Pablo Picasso

Working on another snowy owl pastel. This one is the whole owl, I had taken photographs of him at a rescue center in Vermont. I wanted him sitting in a tree. What kind of tree? How much of the tree did I want to see, what direction would the branch turn? Things that go through my mind as I am working on the piece. I do not always work out an idea ahead of time, as I become more comfortable with the focus of the piece, the owl. I will start the piece and build it as I go along. Researching the type of tree I wanted and finding reference pictures from my stash kept on the computer.

I decided on a cottonwood, it is found in many locations around the U.S. It is listed under Prairie Riparian Forest: Canopy Trees. In the Peterson Field Guide for Rocky Mountain & Southwest Forests. There are several species names for Cottonwoods: Eastern, Black, Fremont, Plains and Narrowleaf. They need to be near a water source, usually found near rivers. Most of them have a leaf that is heart shaped, the bark is a deep heavy texture. I will focus on the bark for this drawing no leaves. The pictures I took are a Fremont Cottonwood found in the Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, AZ. 

Photographs and plein air drawings document moments in time for me, they are my visual diary. They bring back the memory of the day, the place and those people I may have shared the experience.

Friday, February 4, 2011


"Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. What ever he does to the web, he does to himself." Chief Seattle

Working in the Southwest during the winter I am inspired by the difference in the light, the color of the land and the relationship of the people. Last year I was in Tucson watching young people in a horse competition, bringing cattle into the coral in a specific order. Where ever there are horses there are always dogs. As I was taking photographs of our friends daughter I turned to see a cowboy and his dog. The pastel I just finished was inspired by this image. The relationship of a man and his dog. I titled it, "By My Side".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"The artist is not a different kind of person, but every person is a different kind of artist." Eric Gill (sculpture, print maker -

The last couple of days I have been working on a new pastel. It is close to finished and I hope to have it posted on here by Friday. I have finished two other works recently one is a horse head that I struggled with something was just off. I put it away went on to other projects so that when I came back to it, it was with fresh eyes.
I had taken a photograph of this horse a couple years ago when I was in WY/Idaho teaching a monotype workshop. My husband was with me, as we were driving I told him if he sees horses please pull over I wanted to get some reference photos. No sooner had I said that and we turn down the road with a field of horses. This one horse just stood there looking at me. Those are the moments in nature that bring about the inspiration for art. I have done several drawings of this one horse. It is funny to me, that as a child I drew horses as many young artists do. I moved on to other images, tried different techniques and have come back to horses again.
Each person finds there own creative path, their own medium and inspiration. It may not always be found in paint or pencil but in concept or ideas. I have always believed that we are all artists, we just need to find our individual art form.
To see more horse and animal images go to my web site:

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...