Saturday, September 29, 2012

Art of Coffee

It is National Coffee Day - who knew - but apparently there is a national something day just about everyday. So, today I am celebrating with a extra cup of coffee and making coffee stained art.

Coffee has been around since 6th - 7th century. Over 400 Billion cups of coffee are consumed.

So, what is the Art of Coffee? Coffee grounds what do you do with them? They can be used in your garden. They can also be used to create art. Coffee stained paper is easy to create and makes for interesting backgrounds. In honor of Coffee Day I am staining some paper and a small canvas. The fun of this is the surprise. Take paper or primed canvas and throw coffee grounds on them. Just throw them and leave them alone. Let it completely dry. Once it dries shake off the grounds then use them in your garden. The paper is now ready to create something. I like to draw directly on the background usually with charcoal adding white accents.

Enjoy that cup of joe and maybe make some art.

Coffee Stained paper where the ground were through on the paper

Coffee Stained paper where the coffee was poured over the paper

Friday, September 28, 2012

Javelina & Coffee

As I was having my usual coffee with the kitties out back. I hear javelina, pronounced with a H. And they are close, then I hear coyote, guess they were not happy that the javelina were in the neighborhood.

The cats were all ears as they heard all these new sounds. So, inside they went. Did not get around front fast enough with my camera but have a few pictures from previous javelina encounters.

Javelina's are not the prettiest of animals, they look like they are in the wild pig family but they are not. They are in the peccary, hoofed animals family. They live & travel in herds, they are around 20 inches tall, weight in around 40-50 pounds. I read that the babies have a reddish color when they are born and are called "reds".

Javelina's are the white tailed deer of the west, they eat your plants. They love cacti both the plant and the roots.

I have not done a drawing of one yet but it is on my list. And as an after thought beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Javelina, Pecari Tajacu or Tayassu tajacu

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Today I am remembering my Mom, it would have been her birthday. She saw something in me at a very young age and she helped me evolve into an artist. As I always drew on any open space I could find, which meant my homework, she found alternative things for me to draw on. As a teenager she allowed me to paint murals on my bedroom wall. She would take me to the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. And for those times I just can't seem to get into the studio she taught me to cook, which is my other creative outlet. She introduced me to all kinds of music. She worked hard and taught me that with a little hard work many things can be accomplished. So, today I will work hard, get things done that need to be done, I will cook something yummy and listen to music. Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Three P's

Procrastination, Panic and Preparation...these are my 3 P's. I won't say all artists procrastinate but a fair number of us do. Then we go into phase two Panic, this is when we are able to kick it into high gear to move on to phase three preparation. We get organized in our own special way. We pull it together, we pull late nights and early mornings but we get it done. I am passed the procrastination phase and moving quickly into panic. Today I make decision as to what gets mailed back east and what goes as carry-on for traveling with art. I will continue with the panic and preparation right up until October 12th which is the first day of the Fine Arts in the Valley show.

If weather is good to us that first day I plan to be on the deck doing a little plein air painting. If you are so inclined please come join me. I will be painting from 9 - noon. By noon the light will have completed change. Or just come by see what I am doing. I will be working with soft pastels.

The views should be just wonderful in the valley, bring your camera, check out the new art being created for the show and enjoy a country drive.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Up Then Down

It has been a year of up's and down's. I feel like I have spent a lot of time in the air this year. I know it is not as much as some that travel almost weekly for their jobs but for me I have been up and down a lot.

Speaking of down's the leaves are starting to change on the east coast and will soon be falling down to cover the ground in preparation for the winter cold. AZ is just starting to get some of that fall feeling. Still hot during the day although this week we will see low 90's. The evenings are cooling off which deserts do and making it just wonderful to sit out in the morning.

Last week I was in Portland, OR, the up's there are the mountains, the moisture, the air pressure - oh my! Trees have not started changing there yet and the roses are in full bloom. It is a walking city so that I did. Walked around town with my son, John. First day got to go to the local Dick Blick store, picked up some iridescent pastels to finish up a couple hummingbird pieces that have been waiting.  Hope to work on them this week. Getting things ready to ship back east for upcoming shows.

The rest of the week I plan to be studio time, be it finish works or framing I will be in the studio - woo-hoo!

Sugar Maple in VA photo taken by my husband, Rick Parsons 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Oh What A Beautiful Morning...

As usual I went outside this morning with my coffee and sketchbook. With shows coming up I have not always done a sketch from plein air each morn. I have been doing some prelim sketching too, thinking of projects or jotting down sketch notes. But, this morning, I did a quick little sun just behind the mountains sketch, yellow, orange & peach in the sky with mountains in shades of purple. I am not one for painting sun rises or sun sets, I find it hard to compete with Mother Nature in that area. But, this morning I did it just for me just because it took my breath away. So much so that my coffee almost went cold before I took my first sip.

Looking at this as a good omen, it's still early but so far a good start to the day. Were every you are I hope you had something wonderful to see this morning. Here are some I have enjoyed.



San Francisco 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two Steps Forward & Not Looking Back

It has been a pretty good week. Bathroom renovation is going well. Got several works that were half done finished. I even got the blog slideshow to work. When I went to update it with the Fine Arts in the Valley works of art it would give me pictures of people and places I did not know. It was picking up "key words" to try to find the things I wanted. But, it was not working. So, I let it go for a while. When I went back to it I found the right combination of words and no spaces to make it find the art I wanted in the slide show. It picked up the first draft where it just takes things as they are loaded in order. Not exactly what I wanted but I am happy it is up & running.

The artists in the slideshow are: linda hp (pastel), Marilu (scratchboard), Homer Yost (sculpture), Tracy Reed Tousignaut (photography), Sarah Simpson (photography) and Beccy Lynch (jewelry).

Here are a few of the works that I finished this week. I am thinking they are more mixed up pastels, then mixed media. I used watercolor under painting for some, I had a silkscreen non-objective background that I worked over for another, different papers for others. But, in the end they all became pastel paintings.

pastel over silkscreen back ground

pastel using the white of the paper

pastel on tan Rives BFK paper

Saturday, September 15, 2012

End of the Day

Or maybe end of a project. I know there are many artists out there that have unfinished works. Some get hidden away never to come to an end. I keep a drawer in my flat files that is just for things I think I might work on again. Sometimes they fall into the category of things I am not happy with at the moment and not sure I can fix them.

One of those pieces was a lion study I did in watercolor. Just did not work for me. So, I rinsed off as much as I could, let it dry, put it away...for years. With all the packing and unpacking of my studio I have been re-evaluating some of my "things to work on later" stack. Are they worth saving or do they get re-cycled, re-newed into hand made paper so I can then re-use it for another piece of work? One that made it was the tree I posted yesterday. That was simple a piece started plein air in Hudson River area of New York. The lion study was saved too, it became a pastel with under-painting of watercolor. Also, this week I think the Bob Cats are safe, I worked on them for a day, that's all they were allowed. If at the end of the day they did not look better then into the recycle pile they would go and finishing up today's project a another pastel that was started while traveling, almost done with that so maybe that will make it in the posts tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dinner & Galleries

The monsoon season is still wrapping up here in AZ. The gentle winds were blowing in last night to bigger stronger ones into the early morning. I always forget I have a bell hanging out back until the middle of the night when the winds really whip through.

A friend, Maryann, was in town last night in-between her plein air ventures. We went to dinner and then Art Walk in Old Town Scottsdale. The winds were nice, giving a break from the heat & gentle into the evening as not to kick up too much dust. We stopped in the Biltmore Galleries, a mix of classic southwest art in one room & the second room current artist's work. The gallery is on Main Street. Just down from the Biltmore is Xanadu Gallery, a more contemporary gallery with lots of interesting sculptural pieces. The galleries in Scottsdale have a fairly large selection of art, the traditional cowboy art, landscapes, lot of figures, moving into abstract and non-objective. The galleries do a wonderful job of changing the art around from week to week to keep you coming back.

It is coming into high season for the arts lots of shows all over the country. Marilu has 3 pieces in the Mini Show at the Gallery at Fells Point, MD. I just got word that one of my pieces was accepted into the Appalachian Pastel Society Show in Asheville, NC. Both, Marilu & I are creating lots of new pieces for the Fine Arts in the Valley at Country Pleasures Farm Show in Middletown, MD that is coming up soon - October is just around the corner. Plus, lots of other things in the works.

Going to galleries and seeing new art, makes me want to be in my studio. So, for the rest of the day that is were I will be making new work. Here is one of the pieces I finished this week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hardly Easy

Doing battle with the blog this morning, afternoon back east. It all seems so easy, you click on a button that says add gadgets, you click on photo album, where it is located Flickr and album name Fine Arts in the Valley....well, did that and I got some other photos. Going to log off and try again later to see why it is not finding the photos. But in the mean time if you want to see them go to:

Who knows what may pop up...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Trying to keep things in balance lately. Dividing time up into sections to get things done. I make lists. I am working on being better about putting things in my on-line calendar so it reminds me of what I am trying to do that day.

But on days like today, September 11th, I try to balance my life with the memory of what happened on this date. It is still so fresh in our minds. It is still hard to think about, it has been some time since I have been to New York & ground zero. Each time I have been there it has been overwhelmingly sad.

Years ago I started a drawing of the building pieces, I kept seeing this image over and over, on the news, in the papers, in my sleep. So, I put it on paper, I packed it away not knowing if it was done or not. Not knowing if it would ever be for sale as it was a work of emotion that needed to come out.

I think it is time for me to go looking for this piece. Take a look at it again to see if it is finished or should I add more to it. Balancing personal emotion, life interruptions and creativity. That will be my challenge for the day.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Something Old

Jerome, AZ a mining town started in 1883 on the side of Cleopatra Hill, incorporated 3-8-1899. Mined copper, gold & silver for over 70 years. The N.Y. Times in 1903 called Jerome, "the wickedest town in the west". (Wikipedia)

As most mining towns do, they stopped mining, everyone left and it became a ghost town. The locals say, the hippies moved in and so did creativity. Art galleries started opening, along with restaurants and now wineries. It is a small town population under 500. It is up the mountain, with small and few roads, wear comfy hiking type shoes when you go for a visit. It is an easy trip to do in between Cottonwood and Sedona...kind of...

The last trip to Jerome my friend Sarah was in town. We went to the "Ghost Town" part of Jerome. She is a photographer and there is lots of old, rusty things, trucks, cars, mining machines, chickens running around and a working wood mill. I have not seen what her eye saw but look forward to seeing what she creates with her camera for the Fine Arts in the Valley show.

One of the things that I was attracted to was the abstract textures and colors from the old cars and equipment. Have an idea of printing some of these faded textural images onto drawing paper. I would then have to wait for it to talk to me and add my own hand to the piece. We shall see if this goes anywhere but something to keep me thinking.

Ghost Town Jerome, AZ

My friend Sarah

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fields of Color

Back in AZ for September getting work done on the house and in the studio. Rick is in VA keeping busy with teaching and football games. As I was driving down the highway to go to the airport I kept thinking about the patches of color that fill the the in-betweens. Those areas that divide the roads, that go along the side of hills or roundabouts. Many of these areas they use native wildflowers, black eyed susan's, cone flowers or daisy's. Here in AZ you see a lot of Prickly Pear Cactus, which by the way is also native to MD and most states have a native form of a prickly pear.

Once I was in the air there was a whole different field of color. When we got above the storms the rolling clouds took over, with the sun going down there were beautiful reflections of yellow, orange, red, blue going into purple. One of the nice things about flying later in the day is watching the sun set from above.

Getting back into the swing of art, I think of these fields of color. I like working with a background color. There are times that I wait for the paper to talk to me after the paper is toned. So, today I think I will tone a few pieces of paper and see what will emerge. I have started working on the 3rd phase of the Tag Team Art that Marilu & I are doing. That too started with toned paper, using coffee grounds to create the stain. Wait till you see what it was telling me! Both pieces that Marilu & I are working on will be on display at the upcoming Fine Arts in the Valley show in October.

Last drop of coffee is gone, time to get back to the drawing table.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blue Moon - you saw me standing alone...

Last night we had a blue moon, it has nothing to do with the color of the moon. It is something that is rare. A Blue Moon can be the 4th full moon in a season or the 2nd full moon in a month. This Blue Moon was the 2nd in the month of August, the first being on August 1st.

Apparently each month has a special name for moons. September will bring the Harvest Moon. Which can be either September or October but it is the full moon that is closet to the Autumnal Equinox which should be September 29th. Also can be known as a Corn Moon.

There are Wine Moons and Singing Moons too. The moon tends to look bigger during these days because it is lower in the sky and the mind's eye perceives it as larger.

Depending on the cloud cover tonight you may still see some of that Blue Moon. So sing a little song, which by the way was written in 1934 by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart.

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...