Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Picture Story

As I woke way too early this morning, I realized it is the last day of the year. It has been some year too! For me it is all about the pictures. Not just the one's I take with my camera but the one's I create with my hands & heart. So, here are a few photos and images of my art over this past year.

January - Sandhill Cranes

February - winter skies in AZ 
April - Sedona Pastel Show

March - birthday celebration with friends in Cottonwood, AZ

May - Mill Show - SOLD

June - N.M. Pastel Conference & road trip
June & July - Africa  - SOLD

June & July - Zambia - Botswana - Zimbabwe - SOLD

August - road trip OR & CA with Eric & Lori

September - Artomtic with Marilu. MD
 October - November Fine Arts in the Valley Show in MD

December - Solo show Hahn Gallery, VA - SOLD
It was a very good year! Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jump start

Getting a jump start on the painting a day , well, kind of... I, we are painting walls. We are putting our condo in AZ on the market. Before we do we are freshing it up with a coat of paint and new carpet. Not exactly the painting I had in mind but one of those needs to be done before I can move on to other projects. I do find that my wall painting and personal painting have some similarities - I get paint all over me. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wrapping it up...

Or unwrapped - The year is coming to a close, it always seems to come so quickly. Still trying to get things put away after all the holiday unwrapping. Still waiting on a package that seems to be missing somewhere in this great land.

Having a little fun with some of the gift giving and getting this year. Using my art in promotional gifts - got covers for my phone and Rick's phone. And if anyone out there would like a cover of your own, just let me know and we shall see what we can do for you.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Learning Curve

Happy Boxing Day, Merry Day After Christmas! Santa brought me some new toys this year. A sprocket rocket - camera that shoots film, shows the film edges, those sprockets and is in panorama format. Oh my, I mentioned that I was thinking about shooting in film again, along with digital. Some shots still look better in film and I still love B&W images. This falls under, be careful what you ask for...

After reading the directions, it is a simple camera but may take a few rolls of film to master the technique. It is like a box camera, no batteries, no adjustments, set for one speed of film and the exposure depends on how long you hold the shutter open. Most diffidently going to be a learning curve, but fun to experiment.

Santa kept the camera theme going with a macro lens for my digital camera. Not as much of a learning curve but fun to see what images I come up with and how they might become part of my paintings.

Hopefully in a day or so I will have some better macro images for you. The sprocket images will take a bit longer, as they will have to go to the developer.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Getting In Touch

Last night Rick & I went to ZooLights, to get in touch with our inner child. It is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Watching and listening to the children as they ask question of the talking giraffe. The smell of cotton candy and popcorn in the air, light shows set to music and even some educational exhibits.

I enjoyed the artistry of the lights, the colors, the talent it takes to setting a light show to music. I love that classic and classical music is used to introduce a new generation to our history. I love getting ideas for next's years decorations.

It was a wonderful evening to walk around the Zoo. A few animals were out, zebra were watching us watch them. The camel were giving rides to young and old. They have a new zip line in for the young at heart and a tank filled with stingrays you can pet - pass on both.

They built a Christmas Tree from plastic bottles. It shows each of us how much water we use on a daily bases.

It was a very good night. The cookies are baked, they will be on the counter if Santa is so inclined to have a few tonight. We will create via cooking today, tomorrow we will enjoy the tree, morning coffee, talking with friends and family throughout the day.

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

Monday, December 23, 2013


I am trying to take moments in-between holiday shopping, wrapping, decorating and baking to be still. To breathe, to think of family, friends and my art.

We are often separated by miles during the holidays. Life gets in the way of getting together. New jobs, moving, personal struggles but taking a moment to think of how lucky I am to have these people in my life. How they have influenced me and my work over the years.

As the song says, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams..." So, sweet dreams to friends and family.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

As The Year Ends

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

I thought this was a great quote as the year comes to a close. I look back at the art I created this year it rings very true. Some of those paintings are yet to be created but the pictures for many have already been printed. The sub-straight, surface has been matched up to photos and even which medium might be used.

Many artists will have multiple paintings going on at the same time. If you are working in any type of wet medium, there is drying time. In dry medium, sometimes there is just thinking time. Walking away from the work, so as not to overwork it or just to get a new perspective. I am now set for 2014 painting projects, starting a whole new diary.

Here is a look at my 2013 diary...at least a few pages of it!




Saturday, December 21, 2013

It Is Offical

It is officially winter - December 21, winter solstice begins at 12:11. It is thought of as the shortest day of the year. The Latin break down of the word solstice is sun & to stand still. The path of the sun is so slight the few days before and after the solstice that it is as if the sun were standing still.

I remember being in Alaska in July and having 19 hours of sunlight. Got me thinking how much sun do they have in December. Well, Anchorage has about 5 1/2 hours, not too bad, but going north, Fairbanks has 3 3/4 hours of day light in the winter. Working our way N/W Alaska they only see 1 1/2 hours of day light and getting near the Arctic Circle, they do have a day without sunrise in the winter and a day without sunset in the summer.

Nature amazes me, the balance of life, how we all learn to live in certain conditions. To adapt, to survive and to move forward. The trick is to not change the environment to suite you but to find the place that is your best fit. And that may not always be in just one spot.

Some of my favorite spots!!!






Friday, December 20, 2013


An irruption of Snowy Owls. During this migration season the Snowy Owl has been migrating much further south and in much larger numbers. Which happens every so many years and is called an irruption.

I am always interested in these types of things. How do these names come about? Like a murder of crows, tidings of magpies, exaltation of larks or a parliament of owls.

If you see a Snowy Owl in your part of the country and you normally do not you can go to ebird.org and report the sighting. Or just enjoy seeing something you don't see in your neck of the woods, fields?

Here are a few of my Snowy Owls.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Labors of Love

When I am working on a project, be it personal, public or private, a commission piece, they become a labor of love for me. I have to love what I am doing to make it work. Sometimes, it is more work then love but in the end I have to love what I have done. 

I currently have several projects underway, falling under all of the above categories. As I was working on sketches yesterday I was tired and my hand was not doing what I wanted it to do, so I stopped. These sketches are the ideas I have for a dog portrait for a friend. Since, I have a couple ideas floating around in my head I want to give options. I have a hard time picking which I like most in the poses and mostly because I want it to be the right pose.When my hand does not flow well, it is best to stop and make a change. Either work on a different project or something totally different not related to drawing. Which is what I ended up doing.

Today I will go back to, the drawing board and try again, refreshed and ready to relax into the sketches. As, I was focused too much yesterday on the details and not the general idea of the pose. Now that I have that in mind hopefully my hand will follow more relaxed into the task.

Here are a few past commission.


Book in a Box

Inside of Box

Star Book inside of Box
Not all commission are 2-D

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A New Day

It is a new day, a new week and almost a new year. Over the years I have discovered that I have patterns I fall into, rituals I seem to preform before I get into serious painting. One of those is organizing the studio. When it feels like it is closing in on me, too much stuff, I need to clear the room, give myself room to breath and work. Done! As I was making my lists yesterday I started moving things around, hunting for that missing hand made paper. Which I still can't find and before I knew it I was rearranging the studio. I wanted my drawing table in better light, I needed more space to display art and just needed to find ways to make it easier to find things. All done!! Feels good.

Next a little holiday baking and I will be on my way to some serious art making.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Head Games

T.M.I. - I have too much information running around my head...my head is playing games again. I wake up in the wee hours thinking of things I want, need to do, of projects that have been floating around in my little brain for way too long.

How do I make this noise calm down? One way for me is to make a list. It is usually a long list and not one that will be done in a few days. I did this one year and it took me two years to get through the list but I did it and it looks like it is time to do this again.

I have winter trees from the east coast and big trees from the west coast looming over me, just waiting to be put on paper. I can't find my stack of handmade paper, so that will be something that gets done within a shorter period of time. I need to re-work my drawing instruction worksheet for students to include pictures. I have commissions I am working on and a piece that will be in an auction in January.

This afternoon I will paint, but this morning I think I need to take some time and write. A bit of journal writing in the form of lists.What I want to draw or paint, what shows are coming up, due dates, workshops, etc...

Here are a few trees images that might turn into paintings this coming year - I hope.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time For Art

As this year is coming to a close, I have been thinking about the idea of gifts and giving. Giving from the heart. Artists tend towards the creative - go figure - we like to make things for others. It is part of what makes us tic, our DNA. I often find that if I am not in the studio I am in the kitchen and sometimes on the computer. I like to bake, cookies, cakes and I love soups, so I cook when I am not painting/drawing. The computer is double edge, I must to my invoices, inventories and bookkeeping on the computer. Yet, I can also create cards, books and prints via the computer.

This coming year, Marilu & I are giving ourselves a gift and a challenge. We have both signed up to do 30 paintings in 30 days. This is meant to be fun, yet keep you working, keep you focused. I am trying to be somewhat organized about this, so I have made a folder on the computer with images that I want to draw/paint. I am planning to get my papers all together in one place, all the same size, I think, somewhere between 5x7 or 8x10. Still working on that might start with 5x7 and move up to 8x10.

The images will be posted on our web-sites, on this blog, on FaceBook and other locations. If you are interested in signing up for this challenge go to: http://lesliesaeta.blogspot.com

This project begins on January 1st, 2014 - Depending on what time of day I get it done, it may be posted that evening or the next day. Might have to plan on doing the first one a day ahead so I can post each morning, hmmm, more to think about, but I will try to post a new picture each day. Somedays, there may be two if I miss a day but I am going to push to get this done!

Till then Happy Holidays, safe travels, keep drawing and painting.

Hippos - charcoal - currently on display at AZ Arts Alliance Gallery

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Shows

It is the beginning of high season in AZ - which means, lots of art shows. Tonight is the opening reception at the AZ Arts Alliance Gallery, just off Indian Bend & Pima, in the Pavilions at Talking Stick.  It is tucked in a shopping center between a Sports Authority and a Hobby Lobby. This whole center is on Indian Reservation land, why does that matter? It saves you tax fees about 7% savings. And with the holiday shopping every little bit helps.

The gallery is open 7 days a week during the holidays from 11 - 7. The reception tonight will be from 6-9. Many of the artists will be there to talk about their work. There are lots of small items in the gift shop and many small works throughout the gallery. There is a little something for everyone, sculptures, large paintings, small ones, coffee mugs, pottery, cards, and ever some hand made books! So, if you are still in need of a holiday gift come on by or maybe pick up  a little something for yourself.

Along with the opening tonight, the Desert Botanical Gardens is open during the day for the Chilhuly show and then at night for luminaries event. The Zoo has it's Zoo-Lights going on and downtown Phoenix there is a Art Festival happening.

If you need to escape from all the holiday hub-bub you can always go for a walk, hike or bike ride. There was a bit of a cold front last week but it is back to being a nice normal winter here in AZ, low 70's by this afternoon and blue skies.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Trying To Get To The Art

This time of year is so busy it is hard to get into the studio and work on a regular schedule. Not that I ever have a regular schedule but I do push to get at least get some work done each week. It is not like I am not doing any work, but the business of art is hanging over my head too much these days. The applying for shows, which reminds me need to do that before heading out this morning!!! See! Getting paper work in order. Organizing files paper and on the computer.

And then there are the holidays, gift giving, getting packages in the mail, sending cards to those we don't see as much as we would like. Cooking and cleaning come in there to, the cooking part becomes part of my creative process. If I can't get into the studio, I cook, especially bake.

But, in-between all these things there are still shows going on, this weekend the AZ Arts Alliance Gallery has a opening reception, Saturday, Dec. 14th from 6-9PM. If you have not finished your holiday shopping it is a great place to stop by, the gift shop has many small items and the gallery is filled with painting, photography, sculptures and other 3-D works. I have 2-D work hanging, plus my hand made books in the gift shop.

For those back on the east coast, The Little Gallery at Smith Mountain Lake and the Mountain Lake Lodge gift shop & gallery also have some of my work, prints, framed pieces and books.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mocha Morning

Have not had much to say this past week but today is Sunday. I make a little extra coffee watch the Sunday Morning News and if I have a little left over coffee I make mocha. It is a mocha morning!

As I was watching a moment in nature, think that is what it is called, they ended with Kruger National Park, South Africa - elephants! I love elephants and immediately felt the pull of Africa. I am never really sure why I feel the pull of Africa but I do and am working on when I/we will return. Until then I have many more drawings/paintings in my head and this morning helped to kick start them to the front.

I worry some about trying to show images from Africa, animal art but then try to be true to myself. Reminding myself of what a professor told me long ago. Do your art and those that love it as you do will find it.

Botswana, Africa
"elephant - H2O" 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Night and Day

Over the weekend Rick & I spent time at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, AZ. One of my favorite places to just walk around. This time of year it has a wonderful desert smell.

A bonus in the gardens, Chihuly is back, there are glass works throughout. We saw it both in the day light and in the evening with luminaries everywhere. The air was filled with music and the it was a prefect day/night to be there.

It always amazes me what is blooming in the garden, in AZ at different times of the year. I am trying to keep record of what blooms when. The birds too are singing as they have been migrating to this area for their winter visit.

I don't use the photos of the glass works for my art but there are some reflections going on that might somehow come into play, somewhere along the line. Until then I will leave you with a few works as seen Night and Day.

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...