Thursday, February 28, 2013


Today I am back in the studio, doing final touches, sealing finished works, framing and maybe by evening continuing sketches for the mountain lion. Although, yesterdays adventures, running around here and there, I picked up two long format canvases. They will be used to do Mama Quail & her babies. Last year we had baby quail running around the back, they look like fuzzy little balls with a topper. This week I noticed the quail have started coming back again. At least a dozen in the back yard.

I will be doing plein air painting at the Desert Botanical Gardens this Saturday. There are lots of quail that run around there. Maybe I will take one of those long canvases with me just in case I have an opportunity to sketch in some quail running around. Or at least get a few more reference photos.

On the technique side of things, the canvases that I use, be it board or stretched, I adhere cotton rag paper to the canvas. Painting with pastel and sometimes watercolor or acrylic to create my images.

Yesterday was my out and about day, today is my IN day. Working IN the studio.

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, AZ

Cactus Wren



Road Runner

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Too Many Pictures

Yesterday afternoon I was looking for reference photos of the mountain lions. Moving forward and checking things off that To - Do list...

As I was doing this I got to look back over other photos and memories of trips. Sometimes I take several photos back to back. In doing this you sometimes get pictures that are interesting. Especially when you catch a bird or animal with a tile of the head or looking straight at you. You know they are asking themselves the same thing we ask - what are they thinking? My point is that in looking at these photos I thought, oh, that would be good to use in the blog. But, did I write down what file it was in - no. So, when I went to find the pictures this morning the file I thought they were in, they were not...Trying not to waste too much time on the computer I set a time frame for looking for them and time is up, moving on. But, I did find other photos and some good references for the mountain lions so not a waste, just a delay until they pop up again.

Just because I can't find a picture in the thousands that I have, does not mean that I won't be taking more. Can you really have too many pictures?

Here are a few funny faces that I did find...

Monday, February 25, 2013


Committed - such an open ended statement...but this week I am committed to making my To-Do list much smaller. I have been struggling with the whole framing thing but it is getting done. I am trying my hand at painting again, which is not a bad thing. I have been finishing up some pieces that have been just waiting on me to pick them up again. And I am ready to start some new projects.

I will make a new To-Do list and leave it out so I can see it each day and check off one thing a day! If not more, but working towards at least getting one thing a day accomplished.

I have been taking picture of the mountain lions that live at the AZ Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson for years. My commitment this week is to start the mountain lion in pastel.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Butterflies in March

Yesterday, I treated myself to a ballet - Momix:Botanica - a contemporary piece performed by the AZ Ballet Co. It was like watching a painting come to life, it started out with a white rose projected on the curtain, white material across the floor began to move, the air cooled, sounds of nature, dancers created movement, objects & animals. My cup of tea. Two hours of non-stop movement.

Part of this production is sponsored by the Desert Botanical Gardens. The bird noises were sounds you hear at the gardens. The insects, animals, flowers & trees created by these talented dancers made you feel like you were in the gardens, surrounded by nature. It made me think March will be here this coming weekend, with March there is much to do in nature and the butterflies return to the gardens. I love going in the butterfly house and just watching/waiting for them to land on me. If you wear light or bright colors, straw hat or light colored baseball caps they will more then lightly land on you.

I start going to the gardens each Saturday in March for the Paint Out event that the Scottsdale Artists League holds. There are close to 50 artists throughout the gardens, painting in plein air. I usually find some small space to work in to find that cactus, tree or leaf that speaks to me on a close up level. Some years I am lucky & have hummingbirds visiting me for the day. Other times a butterfly will land long enough for me to get a photo or quick sketch. It is a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.

March will bring many wonderful adventures, keep checking in to see what or who will be in AZ!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cold Coffee

Sometimes in the morning I take my second cup of coffee in the office with me while I finish up computer work. The down side of this is I get working on "stuff" like taxes this morning and forget my coffee until it is cold. I have never been a fan of cold or ice coffee. So, what to do with cold coffee, I could use it to stain paper, which I did the other day. I also tried staining a mat board to go around a small piece that is done on coffee stained paper and needs a little more space around it. It is dry I think - took the weight off and will see if it holds it shape. Then will spray-seal the mat and assemble everything together. I don't generally microwave cold coffee. Something changes in the taste. So, I add my rice milk (can't do dairy so my sub for cow products) and a little hot chocolate mix to make mocha. If I am feeling especially fancy I will add a touch of cinnamon for a form of Mexican coffee. Not sure it is really Mexican but it is the name we have come up with for this lovely little drink. So, off I go to make mocha now that I have my taxes done. At least until the tax-man checks them over and ask me questions. Next into the studio to work on a little acrylic painting I started last night...

Did not have a picture of a coffee cup - so a lovely flower will have to do...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Be True

Trying to get back to the drawing board...need to re-do a few things. I had to remind myself recently to be true to what I do and how I see my work. Sometimes, we forget and try to please others, listening to what they are saying but then when we do what they have requested it was not what they liked about your work in the first place. I should have just done what I wanted to do in the first place and all would be well...stay true to yourself. Do what you love to do and it will be fine.

Yesterday was a lost day, ran around trying to find frames but nothing I liked, tried to order frames but for some reason the web site would not work, tried to cut mats, finally just called it a day. Went to the mail box and in it was "The Richeson International - Animals, Birds & Wildlife 2012" book. I have 4 pieces published in this book. I received a meritorious award for them and was ask if they could be included in the book. Why would I say no? It is nice to see my worked published and that what I love to do, others love too! Reminding me again, be true to yourself.

Meritorious Award's for "Dreams of Flying" "Thinking"

Award for "beep-beep"
 " Who's Got Who"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In-between the rain drops

Arizona is thought of as a warm/dry state yet snow is on the way in Sedona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon areas, Scottsdale, Phoenix will get rain...maybe a little north see a snow flake but nothing that stays around. Even the rain sometimes never hits the ground - it is called - a virga rain - it evaporates before it hits the ground. But, come tomorrow that should not be the case. Clouds are already rolling in and the winds are due to pick up this afternoon bringing the storms on the west coast inland. Again, with the rain we are getting this winter the spring flowers should be just amazing. In an area that is so dry most of the time, just a little rain makes the plants very happy, they green up, plump up and even flowers bloom in the middle of winter. This is one of the reason I love this area, there is always something changing, something blooming and a little rain goes a long way around here.
Morning sky before the storms roll in...

A little rain goes a long way, in 2 months this will be a dry bed

Blooms in winter

Monday, February 18, 2013


Pho - a Vietnamese soup or a short word for Photo - add it to Hiking and it is what I do.. It is the term Rick & I came up with for how I hike. If I have a camera in my hand - it is understood we are Pho-hiking...I stop - a lot - to take pictures. I wanted to get some cactus pictures, something for my birds to land upon in my drawings. Since the birds land on these prickly things but are often too small or fly off before I can get close enough. Most artist use several reference photos to compose one piece of art.

We went pho-hiking at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in Cave Creek, AZ. There are several trails, we have been there before but took a different path and found a few little side paths. I got some nice shots so will use them this week in continuing to create birds & wildlife images from the southwest.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One of those days...

Heading out shortly to gallery sit at AZ Arts Alliance Gallery - I have work there till March 3rd. One of those days where I don't get much done till after 5 - so will just leave you with a thought.

"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." Confucius

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


As I was getting my coffee, I was thinking about what would the blog be today? I looked at a few quotes and these two seemed right for today.

"Art is a passion or it is nothing" - Robert Fry

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

Both of these hit home for me. Art is a passion, something that surrounds me everyday. When I do not have pastel or pencil in hand, I dream of creating, I think of it when I am driving or traveling, I go to art galleries and museums, I read about art & is truly a part of me.

The other note that struck me was keeping a diary, I have always thought of my work as documenting a moment in time. Making works of art that captures something that may not be here tomorrow. An old tree, animals on the endangered list, nature. But, I realized that for years I have been making little pieces of art that document my travels. Sometimes work is create from a trip for a show but there is always that one piece that means something special and it becomes part of the artists collection, a page in our diary.




South Africa


New Mexico


Monday, February 11, 2013


Trying to finish up the framing - I realized I can't always find what I need - so I end up making what I want. To explain - I have been looking at rustic frames but not finding exactly what I want, some are so rustic that you get a splinter just picking them up. Others are just pushing it towards too ornate. I buy what is close to what I need then go back to the studio and make what I want. I sand them down, add some stain and get a frame that fits my work. At least this is my feeling.

So with that done, spraying the next grouping of art today. I need to be careful as it is raining at the moment and moisture can affect works on paper. I have all the frames lined up, will match up work with frames and set out putting them all together. Another fun framing day in the studio. My goal is to TRY to have all of this done today/tonight.

Since looking at a row of frames is kind of a boring picture I will leave you with this mornings sunrise.

Friday, February 8, 2013

To Do Day -

Today is the kind of day where I have lots of lists of To Do's...I will try to finish the final coats of spraying art before heading out on my To Do's.  Then I pick up more frames, install the art and check that off my To Do's. There are lots of show opportunities coming up that I need to get the paperwork or on-line submissions done - more to do's. The works for these shows then are held aside waiting to see if you get into the juried show. With that work being in limbo you create more work for other shows. It is a interested dynamic. But, it does keep be motivated and working. I need the To Do's, the deadlines and just a little pressure.

Yesterday bird pastel & charcoal - Black-headed Grosbeak

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Touch of Red

It is February and red just seems to be the color of the month. So, I have been playing with reds along with finishing the Quail, which looks a lot like the previous quail I did but it is a vertical format this time. But, it is done and being sprayed to frame this week. Yesterday in between spraying I worked on some little cardinals. One is very small, 5X7, it was fun to do and I have another one that is almost done, needs a few little touches.

So, planning today to be another "Studio Day" working at the drawing table and spraying finished work. Friday, framing day! Oh Boy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board - WIP

WIP - Work In Progress...last week was hard to get much new work done. I was hunting for new frames, spraying & sealing finished works, doing touch ups, and trying to remember to mount new drawing paper on canvas boards for new works.

Started Sunday afternoon on a new piece, a Quail, they are so funny, you just have to smile when you see them. I have been working on a series of birds using a charcoal background and the main focus, the bird, is in pastel.

Hope to have this little guy done today....look for the finished piece in a day or so.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


If you are from Maryland and you think of Baltimore - then you know of Poe....since today the Raven's play in the Super Bowl. I thought of Poe's "The Raven" is just the intro and nothing more.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
Only this and nothing more."

Monotype Raven Series

Friday, February 1, 2013

I've been framed

Well, not me personally but I am dealing with the other side of creating art. How to frame the finished pieces. My style tends to be clean, simple, looking for that balance of framing works to please everyone.

Heading out to a frame shop today to see what I can find. With the new process I am doing sealing my pastels so they can be framed without glass, it is also changing how I work. A lot of what I do is up-close and personal. I like the details, the small things, intimate moments in nature. I just need to give them some breathing room when I work now. I have used mats as part of the work, sometimes even drawing onto the mats. I often thought of the mat as a part of the art and the frame was a place to end. Now, the frame is more important and their are no mats to transition.

You would not think it would be that hard but it is a process for me. Thinking out loud as to what works and what doesn't... just a matter of time to work things out. Till any thoughts on frames?

Works at the Biltmore Gallery - my 3 pieces are on the bottom planning to change the frames to more S/W style

Falcon with possible frame? Yes - No?

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...