Monday, March 31, 2014

Looking For The Lamb

It does look like, March will go out like a lamb for much of the northern hemisphere. Not a lot of information out there about how the phrase started and not a lot of it has to do with the weather. The earliest information I found was attributed to John Fletcher, 1624, he wrote a play called "A wife for a month", in which the line is found.

Then there is the constellations for March, beginning with Leo the Lion and ending with Aries, the ram or lamb. But, all in all, it is accepted that if March has strong, hard weather to start it is a lion and as it goes out signs of spring, warmer temperatures make it a lamb. Lets hope the rest of the day is a lamb.

No telling what surprises April will bring...

Linda's charcoal & pastel "Homer's Ram" SOLD
Marilu's sheep colored pencil


Sunday, March 30, 2014


Getting ready for a special event in April. I will be doing a side walk mural. It will be six by eight feet. There are several locations around AZ that this will be going on, I will be at Desert Ridge. Not sure exactly where yet, more on that when I get the final information. I had to pick a theme, one of the choices was animals. I then needed to submit a quick sketch. Which takes a little longer then 5 minutes. I did 4 little sketches as I was thinking about the scale of the project. I needed to keep it simple but still realistic and true to my style. I have one day to complete the work, which is most likely all that my knees and back will allow.

It seems that this week has been all about preparation and presentation. Getting things ready for work and for shows. Still have a little more of that. Well, to be honest there is always more of that: framing, matting, priming, sketching, organizing, cleaning...all part of the job.

Today, we paint and sketch...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prime Time

I spent the afternoon painting but it was the kind of painting with minimal beauty. I was priming canvases, painting them white, several coats of white gesso,  a white acrylic paint that dries quickly. I have some boards that I want to try to paint on plus many canvases waiting for the image to appear. I mounted paper on some of the canvas boards and will prime that today.

I will get some sketches on some of them and get the backgrounds painted on a few. I have a couple little pieces in progress backgrounds done and started painting the image on one of them. The images/ideas are just hanging with the other two canvases, patiently waiting for me to get to them. All in good time, as they say...

There are never enough hours to do all the paintings/drawing I have floating around in my head. But, the thought of a solo show coming up in June has kicked me into high gear. I would like several new pieces for that show. Along with some fairly large pieces. I have the concept for what I want, now just need to pull it off. I work well under pressure but need to keep in mind the drying time for oils and that I need to ship them. Guess that means I better head into the studio!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fairy Tales

As I was taking a walk yesterday, looking at the flowers and trees in bloom - I thought about the Beauty and the Beast of Arizona. The harsh conditions in which these beautiful flowers manage to grown. The soil is rock and sand. The plants and trees have developed spines over time replacing large leaves. The palo verde tree has a variation that is called little leaf and they are so small it looks like it does not have leaves at all. But, they do have some wicked spikes to protect itself and are filled with yellow flowers.

The desert is about survival and conservation. How to live, bloom flowers, to reproduce for another year. Sometimes the ocotillo looks like dead sticks coming out of the ground. If there is a lack of water, it will drop it's leaves in order to produce a flower. A kind of Sleeping Beauty.

Arizona in March, in the spring is a fairy tale, I love to not only see what is blooming but the air is filled with soft fragrances. Later there will be fruits for the birds, butterflies, bugs and others to enjoy. This is my favorite month and even with little rain, it has still been a lovely chapter in my story.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time Of Year

It is technically spring and this time of year there are birds in nests and young ones taking their first flight. In my back yard there is a saguaro cactus. The birds drill holes into the soft flesh to house their nests. A mourning dove has come back again this year to make her nest. They are usually pretty skid-dish and fly away, but when on a nest they just look at you with a bit of an evil eye.

The painting I worked on yesterday is from a photo I took of a immature red tailed hawk. I think it was taken early morning in Tucson. It was a little cool and the bird fluffed up his feathers to keep warm.  It is an oil on canvas 8X10.

Red tailed hawks can be seen from coast to coast. The colors vary slightly but most have the red tail. They can get up to 22 inches in length and wing span of 55 inches. There are a couple that have dark under sides "Harlan's" they do travel from Texas area up to Alaska. There is also one that is called "dark". The Harlan has more gray to it's tail, where the dark looks like eastern or western just has a dark under belly.

 It has been good to see over the years an increase in hawks. As you drive along the road you will see them on the tops of poles and the highest branch on a tree.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Last week I worked at the gallery, it was a Thursday, it was a very quite day. I always bring something to work on, to demonstrate if anyone is interested in seeing the technique I use for my pastels. But, on those still days, there is lots of in between time to fill.

I had started a little barn owl and pretty much finished him at the gallery, did a little more work back at the studio. But, nice little study, 5x7 ish...working with toned background, pulling out the lights with my kneaded eraser and then adding details with pastel pencils.

Thinking he needs to be bigger and maybe try him in oils. But, first need to finish the bird on the easel, and then the 3 other canvases that are sitting in-there-in-be-tween state.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Biz-zz Bees

Spring has sprung, in Arizona!  I know my friends and family back east are still waiting for some non-snow weather. But, that has not stopped us all from thinking about spring-summer and art shows.

Marilu and I are busy getting work ready for April - May - June shows and thinking about shows for the fall too, Fine Arts in the Valley is just a few months away. But, before we go there, April is just around the bend. I have working that will be included in a show in Frederick, MD at the Griffins Art Center, hosted by Jeanean Martin. The works included in the show will reflect the inspiration from our time spent in New Mexico.There will be an Artists Talk April 4th from 7-9 and Opening Reception April 5th 5-8. The gallery is open Fridays 5-8, Saturday & Sunday 11-8. Located: 437 N. Market St., Frederick, MD (301) 637-0145.

Marilu & I have works in the Historic Burwell-Morgan Mill, Millwood, VA. The show opens April 26th, Artists Reception May 4th from 2-5 and last day of show is May 11th. The Mill is open Sunday - Friday 12-5 and Sunday 10-5. For directions and more information you can check out the web site:

If you have not made it to this juried show, it is worth the drive. Beautiful countryside, horses, cows along the way, stone fences, tall oaks and the Mill itself is, well, just charming.

I have work going into the AZ Pastel juried show in Sedona, AZ. Opening reception April 19th. I will be at the gallery on April 29th from 10-5. I will have a demonstration of reductive pastel technique on the easel. 15 Art Barn Rd., Sedona, AZ check the web site for details and directions.

Marilu is also staying busy getting works ready for a solo show at the Nature Center in Laurel and I will be hanging a solo show at the Alumni Gallery at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. More to come on these.

So, us biz-zz little bees will keep on working and putting it out there. Hoping by April everyone will come on out to see our new works!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Learning Something New

Today is International Day of Forest, as so declared by the United Nations. This I did not know, I never really thought about the United Nations making International Days but apparently there are a lot of them, so today I learned something new. If you want to see what other observances there are you can go to the web site.

I love taking an opportunity to remind myself and others of the importance of trees. They give shade in the S/W sometimes being outside is as simple as stepping into the shade. Trees give us oxygen to breath in and out each day. They protect the ground, hold it in place with their roots, they provide food and shelter. They make music when the wind blows through their leaves. They are beautiful, some are tall others delicate. They touch my heart. They heal, just take a walk in the woods. Even in death trees are elegant in their form and as they decay they benefit the earth by enriching the soil.

If you have an opportunity today or this weekend, go hug a tree!

linda hp - pastel inspired by trip to Alaska

Marilu scratchboard 

linda hp graohite & white pastel, Harper's Ferry

Marilu scratchboard

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking Forward

I think I am finished with the little fox painting, "Looking Forward" - it is an oil on canvas 8x10 and it is a rare winter scene for me. The title comes from the idea that this little guy may be looking forward to spring. As I know so many of my friends and family on the east cost in North America are doing.

Continuing to move forward I have another oil on the easel, even worked on it last night. I don't paint at night as much as I use to, the eyes just do not work as well. But, I got Jackson Brown playing, a glass of red wine and just let the flow happen. I still find that I need to give myself an hour of downtime when I stop painting. There is an energy that comes over me when I am creating art that wakes me up and sometimes gets me thinking of new works to create. In order to go to sleep I need to stop and just let it all go to the back of my brain. Which does not always work but did okay last night.

I am working at the AZ Arts Alliance Gallery today from 11 - 6 and I always bring something to demonstrate. Today I will hopefully, finish a little barn owl in pastel. The pastels are still easier to travel with for these types of demos. It is Thursday Art Walk in Scottsdale, maybe after working at the gallery I may go check out a couple of shows. Looking forward to seeing whats new in the galleries.

Happy Spring, let's hope March Madness is just about the hoops and not the weather.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hitting The Books

Wildflowers, trees and cactus are blooming early this year. Even though it is an off year for the amount of blooms there are still plenty to see and study. I had to hit the books to remember all the names of the different plants I saw in bloom.
There are many flowers that look similar and many yellow flowers in AZ. I try to double check by looking at the leaves, is it a bush or a single growth plant...then I take my best guess. From the looks of it compared to the pictures in the book I am going with Chinchweed, Pectis papposa, grows to 8 inches, will cover large areas.
The yellow flowers are from the Brittlebrush, Encelia farinosa, an evergreen with daisy shaped flowers. It tends to be one of the first things to bloom. The orange flowers are from the Globe mallow plant, a thin plant growing to about 2 feet.

Fairy Dusters, Pea Family Leguminosae

Add caption

Prickly Peat


These are just a few of the flowers and plants I saw. More to come on trees...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Evening In Paradise

Last night Rick & I watched the full "Crow" moon rise between the mountains by the outside fire pit. It was a beautiful evening in paradise. The "Crow" or "Worm" full moon is suppose to represent the coming of spring. The crow is leaving and the worms start to show their heads. Well, from the weather reports back east, still waiting for old man winter to leave.

It has made travel a challenge and still does. Rick is working his way back east at this very moment. The flights seem to be working but once on the ground, well, we will just have to wait and see. And who knows if things clear a little bit more, might see a few more visitors coming out my way.

This morning wrapping up computer work and normal life stuff. Going by condo, which is up for sale if anyone is interested and the park is just across the street so will go for a nice morning walk to see what is blooming in AZ. Because there has been very little rain this winter, the wildflowers and cactus will not be as brilliant as they have been in some years but there is always something to see in each season.

This afternoon will be in the studio to finish a little fox in the snow scene. I know not exactly your AZ wildlife but had these pictures of a red fox in the snow from when we lived in Maryland. Just knew I needed to do something with them. Did a little pastel for the 30-30 challenge. The current one is 8x10 oil on canvas. Plan to prime some boards for oil painting tonight too. Have not painted on hard board surface but I do like a smooth surface compared to the weave of canvas. More experiments with oils. Most of these will come back east for shows in the spring, summer and fall.

Happy St. Patty's Day, keep warm thoughts as spring is on it's way or so say the moon!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Creative Week

This week has been filled with lots of creativity - going to art shows, getting good news about art, and spending some artful time creating meals with my son the cook. A good week.

Rick & I went to the Celebration of the Arts show, hundreds of artists all coming together for the winter in AZ. That show and the Arts Expo are set up in large tents from mid-Jan. to mid-March. A long time to commit to a show.

While John was still here we went over to the Scottsdale Art Show that is just set up for the weekend. This year featured lots of creative food trucks, with food for ever taste. The arts covered a little of everything but the sculptures took our vote this year.

I received good news, one of my images and some information on how I work with recycled handmade paper will be include in an article in Profession Artist Magazine. I also received word that two of my images will be included in the Pastel show in Sedona, AZ. Along with news that two images will be included in the Mill Show, VA.

The end to a very nice week.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Light By Day And Night

The hummingbirds were out before the sun was up from behind the mountains. They are happy for fresh sugar water to start a new day.

Last night on our return from a day trip to Cottonwood & Jerome, AZ the sun gave us a nice show. Bouncing light off the clouds and reflections from behind the mountains. A good end to a fun day. 

I always enjoy going north in AZ. This time of year it can be cool to cold and have snow. But not yesterday, signs of spring where all around. Trees had flowers popping along with new green leaves. 

We saw not only beautiful nature scenes but old architecture and great art work. A very inspirational day.



View From Jerome

Pronghorn Antelope

Spring - just around the corner

Co-op Gallery in Jerome

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Little Things In Life

It is often the little things in life that touch us the most. Yesterday was my birthday and I had a very good day. Rick & I went to the Shemer Art Center, Phoenix, AZ. They have in the sculpture garden an exhibit of MicroDwell and inside MicroArt. The small house creations are made from interesting materials. Some where created from the large storage containers, recycled materials, use of bus frames, and old trucks. These tiny spaces, can be used as play houses, artists traveling studios, personal homes or even a pizza truck/restaurant from a ditch digger.

Inside the Shemer the art exhibit reflects the same theme of MicroArt. Small works but still powerful. Wood carved to look like objects cover with cloth. Two color prints in square formats and pieces created from mixed mediums.

The Shemer also offers classes and special events. If you want to check out more about the MicroDwells or art gallery check out the web site:

After leaving the art center we picked up our son, John from the airport in from Portland. We headed into Old Scottsdale and back to the house for a relaxing finish to the day. A good artsy birthday!

Thanks to all my friends for the birthday wishes, cards & gifts. It is those little things in life that make it worth the journey.



Artist studio on wheels

Ditch Digger Pizza Place

Inside Ditch Digger pizza oven

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sharing A Moment

This morning I got to, share a moment. We had breakfast el fresco with the hummingbirds. It was a very nice way to bring in the day. The gila woodpeckers are not fond of us being outside, where the hummingbirds are oh so brave and just know that the feeders are out there just for them. Rick heard the great horned owl early this morning, there are lots of quail, dove, sparrows, and a few up in the trees that I can not identify with the sun to their backs.

I thought I should go get my camera but then I might miss something. So, I just finished my coffee and watched as the hummingbirds came and went. Thank you, for making this day even more special.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Finishing Touches

Yesterday afternoon I sat outside and did a few final touches to the cheetah. I wanted to add more white to the chin area plus made the area around his chin darker. Cheetah is done, now just need a title.

After finishing the oil I went to the pastels. Decide I would finish up the dog from the workshop I took last weekend. Will give the velour paper another try using a different brand. But, can't say that I loved working on this paper. It does give a soft appearance for the fur of animals. 
I did buy an extra sheet to cut up & bring to the workshop I am teaching at Common Ground on the Hill in July. 

Each artist has a special touch of the hand, kind of the different strokes thing. I still find I like the touch of the Rives BFK paper. I have even applied it to canvas and used oil paints on it with nice results.

Now that the finishing touches are done on these two pieces I can move on to fox & bird that have the under painting done. Plus got a little owl in pastel waiting for a few more strokes.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Playing With The Big Cats

While in Zambia last year we went to Mukuni Big 5, an educational animal foundation. This is when I got to walk with cheetahs and play with lion cubs. I used the same picture for a pastel painting last year, this year I did it a little larger and in oil. It look several days waiting for the dark's to dry before adding the lights. Then there was the last detail work, the little tiny bits of black fur mixed in with the beige, burnt sienna and white. Too much and I had to wait for it to dry to cover it over a little with the lights.

I found that my rigger brush, which I had bought for watercolors works beautifully to make those little lines for the fur details. Of course it is either a 00 - or - 000, but it does have long hairs so it can hold a fair amount of paint, enough to get more than one stroke. The water based oils are working nicely, I think the month of doing a lot of it quickly helped me gain some confidence back for the feel of the brush. Oils have a different feel than acrylics and watercolors. I can thin the oils down with water or medium so that they give me lovely soft effects. I plan to continue working in both oils and pastels, we shall see where it takes me.

The cheetah, well, I have several other pictures, along with some of those lion cubs and of course elephants. There is something magical about Africa and the wildlife there. I will just have to keep capturing those memories till I can return.

Oil on canvas stained with coffee, 8X10 

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes life is an adventure. I am looking forward to a few adventures coming up this next week. There are some opportunities for day trips, heading north to Cottonwood, Jerome, maybe Sedona.

I am working each afternoon to finish up the cheetah oil painting. I have gotten pulled into the details and it is almost done, should be able to post a picture tomorrow. I am working on a couple more pieces here and there, layering the dark's in and waiting for them to dry. I keep looking at the piece I started in the workshop. I think I will finish it but still not loving the velour type paper. I had put a dog portrait I have been doing on hold to see if I like the velour paper I might change to that, but no, so will go back to working on that. It is about half finished.

The stuff of life getting in the way, is the usual, organizing, cleaning, framing, selling our condo, hanging shows, gallery sitting, demonstration and cooking. But, I think we have things pretty well planned at this point. Some shows coming up are the AZ Arts Alliance Gallery, the show is up till April 27th, will big reception on April 26th. The gallery is located off Indian Bend, Scottsdale, AZ. Waiting to hear from the Mill show in VA, the AZ Pastel spring show will go up in Sedona in April and hanging a solo show at the Alumni Gallery at VA Tech in June. July I will be teaching pastel at Common Ground on the Hill, McDaniel College, MD.

I am sure there will be other shows & workshops that come up and in-between I will keep painting in both oil & pastel.

I did create a little slide show on my computer, I down loaded here but it does not appear to want to run. If you go to the flickr link listed on the side you can pull up the slide show. Not always easy but it is out there. So, now that this is done, I have some business things to do this morning, in the way life stuff and later this afternoon we will make art!

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...