Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Color of Rain

It is not the rain itself that has a color but the change of color rain creates. The gray of the sky is that mid-tone neutral gray that artists like to use when taking photographs. Colors appear more intense against the gray. A clear blue sky with a bright sun will play with the eye, making things look darker or lighter.

After a rain, the bark of a tree can be filled with color. I have had people inquire, was that color really there or did you make it up? I am pretty true to nature, I have pushed the limits at times but I like to paint what I see. What I see may not be what you see. The more time I take to look, the more colors I see.

Take a walk in the woods after a summer shower, look at the leaves, flowers, bark, rocks or even the ground. Just looking outside my window the sky is gray. The mountains have a blue-violet misty color, there are at least 10 shades of greens in the trees at the base of the mountains, with touches of yellow, burnt sienna, dark browns and even some purple-pink. That is just the visual, the sounds and smells are for another day.

Today I will prepare paper and canvas for some new works. At least one will be a tree with some hidden colors and maybe a few exposed roots.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Up North

This year is filled with lots of road trips, the latest was up to Michigan. While we were there we did a little hiking. We did the dune drive in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and hiked up the trail to Pyramid Point. The point is a  dune that sits 400-450' above Lake Michigan. Hiking through a forest of maple, beech & pine trees. I have much more inspirational photos of trees and roots.

While driving around the many lakes in the area, out of the corner of our eyes something fairly large and white. Rick is great at spotting and getting the car off the road so I can get out to take photographs. We walked along the road to get to a little clearing and our prize was nesting Trumpeter Swans. We could not get too close, so they were not upset at our standing there watching them.

It was a slow start for spring but the flowers were blooming, corn just starting to grow, and trees were rich with green. I did get some sketching in, just rough ideas and notes. Next need a few photos of trees around the Virginia Tech campus and I can move forward with the tree projects I have in mind.

Look what we found on the dune drive!

Trumpeter Swans

Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

Pyramid Point, look in the lower right corner for a touch of red
that is a person at the bottom of the dunes.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday Artsy-Style

While I was on the road - again - I had this idea, Thursday on FB you get to see pictures from the way back. It got me thinking about some of the older art works that I sometimes forget about. Pieces that get packed away, especially with all the moving that has been done over the last few years. Works that are in a show or gallery and come back to you.

So, I thought lets do a Throwback Thursday Salute to Art and make it a special deal. I am going to try to have two deals, one an unframed print, it may be matted & shrink wrapped and the other an original drawing/painting. Working on how to relate the pricing to dates. July I will post new works at the beginning of the month.

If you would like to purchase just e-mail me and we can work out the details, checks & major credit cards accepted. Have a Pay Pal account but have not really used it so may need to investigate to see if that is still up and running.  But, just e-mail me:

1st linoleum cut, hand-pulled print on rice paper 12x12 image size.
This piece was inspired by my South Africa trip and printed in 2007.
The special price for this month $20.07 plus shipping.

When I first started going to AZ I took some botanical illustration workshops.
It inspired me to do some watercolors, which I do occasionally. It is matted & framed
image size 7 1/4 x 11 framed to 15x18.
This one was created in 2001, special deal for this month $200.01 plus shipping.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Yesterday was reconnecting with memories, places and friends. A stop at the Washington Printmakers Gallery to see a retrospective of Neena Birches' works. She was a dear friend and seeing a body of her work is touching and inspiring. The show closes at the end of the month and the gallery is on the second floor of the Pyramid Atlantic building 8230 Georgia Ave., Sil. Spg., MD. If you are in the area stop by and see the show.

Re-connected with Marilu in the afternoon to plan a few future projects...trees are involved! Along with some osprey. Then over to Country Pleasures Farm for the evening, some plans were discussed for this fall and Fine Arts in the Valley show. We have two new people joining us this year: Lisa LeMair will have her jewelry plus other surprises, and Christopher Proto brings his potter works. Sarah Simpson stopped in with puppy in training "Bones" a funny little-big pawed bloodhound. She will have pet/dog photograph at FAV show this fall.

Things are moving forward, projects are underway, it is good to take a few moments to reconnect.
Fig tree at Country Pleasures Farm

Event Barn for Fine Arts in the Valley

View from the event barn


Monday, June 16, 2014

Still Spring...

Even though it was a hard winter and it took it's toll on plants, bushes, trees. Our native Prickly Pear Cactus is still hanging in there. He is starting to bloom, a couple flowers are out and lots more to come. Our hydrangea did not fend so well, at first we thought it lost but as it was cut back there was new growth. May not have flowers this year but it is doing a great job of coming back from the edge.

Nature always finds a way. I love seeing fern growing on the sides of rocks. Trees that have taken root in the crack of a boulder, as it grows just pushing it's way up and out. The power of nature is what keeps me coming back to the woods.

Naturally Inspired

This weekend was filled with nature. We did 3 hikes, Mountain Lake, Pandapas Pond and Cascade Falls. The last was the longest at a little over 4 miles. The first 2 miles we took the trail that ran nearest the water.

This is a National Park and they did a great job of making stepping paths with rocks and logs but it was still a bit steep. Which meant I took a fair amount of breaks, luckily I could combine most of them with taking pictures. My focus was on the trees and roots. I did take pictures of the water fall that is at the end of the first 2 miles. With all the snow and rain, it was running full force. A few brave souls even took a dip in and under the falls.

While we were at Mountain Lake we saw red tailed hawks in a mating dance. The males will fly as high as a 1000 feet, diving at 100 mph to impress the ladies. He will gentle touch her and they may take off together locking talons in a brief dance. Once that is done, the male will bring her a gift of food. Red tailed hawks mate for life. Rick & I both got to see this wonderful moment but I did not have the long lens on the camera, so we will just have to keep that moment of nature in our memories.

Naturally, I am filled with inspiration. I have new works hanging at the shop at Mountain Lake, The Little Gallery on Smith Mountain Lake and at the Holtzman Alumni Center Gallery. Since, most of my newest works are out there I need to get working. No excuses as I have lots of reference material just need to figure out what to do first.

Cascade Falls 6-2014

Caacade Park

Along the fire road trail Cascade Park 

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Yesterday, was a two-fer - we did two hikes in one day. It started out as an art delivery day. I was taking new work to Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke, VA. It is the lodge were Dirty Dancing was filmed. They have been working over the last few year remodeling, updating, adding to but one of the things that doesn't need to be touched are the woodlands. There are trails to hikes, lots of them. Rick came with me and after changing out the art, which is located in the gift shop, we planned to go hiking. The gift shop is a separate building across from the main hotel, which has a restaurant and separate bar.

Having work in a Gift Shop is an alternative to stand alone gallery. If the work is geared to the location, wildlife, birds, and nature is can be a memory gift to take with you after a visit. So, far it has been working nicely for me. Once we finished with the art, we headed over to the main building, had a nice lunch and we were off for a hike.

We picked Indian Trail which was around the lake, there is a path by the lake and a trail just inside the woods. We took the one in the woods. It is pretty easy till you get about half way, it starts to go up hill some, there are lots of large roots to be aware of but the gem is the big boulders. They reminded us of when we lived in Frederick, MD we had big granite bounders on our land. It was peaceful and beautiful. Inspired me to want to bring materials back there to paint.

As we were wrapping up the hike, there were mountain laurel in bloom. The blackberry bushes were in flower, but the rhododendron were just starting to bud. Which brings me to the second part of the two-fer. We had been to Pandapas Pond recently and the rhododendron there were in bud and I wanted to see if they had started to flower. Since, it is right down the road from Mountain Lake we headed over there. The flowers were not yet ready but they are close, maybe another week. But, we did see lots of geese, couple of black snakes, heard the frogs, saw trout in the pond and a few butterflies to wrap up our two-fer hike.

Back to Blacksburg for some refreshments and to review the pictures I had taken to get me painting soon.
Indian Trail, Mountain Lake Lodge

Mountain Lake 

Mountain Lake
Mountain Laurel

Pandapas Pond

Friday, June 13, 2014

Getting Your Feet Wet

More like keeping them in the water...keeping art going, is kind of like getting your feet wet over and over again. Each spring/summer as you get your feet in the water for the first time it can be a bit shocking. Making art, getting it ready for shows, applying for shows has some of that same effect.

Lately, as I apply for shows I find myself looking more at past shows at that gallery and those people who will jury the show. If it does not include wildlife or trees, I start to think, is this worth my time and money to even apply?

I keep making new art, it is what I do, it is part of me and I hope to do it as long as my hands will allow. As I read an article this morning by Liz Wiltzen about Robert Genn, who recently passed, she had a quote by Virginia Woolf, "Arrange whatever pieces come your way". The whole article touched me but I really liked the quote. We have to deal with what life gives us, then rearrange our lives here and there.

I will keep sticking my toes in the water, testing the temperature. Other times I may just jump in and hope for the best!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The ole 2 steps forward...

Took new work into The Little Gallery at Smith Mountain Lake yesterday. It is located at: 16430 Booker T. Washington Hwy., Moneta, VA. It is on the lower section and as you look out from the store you see water and boats. It may be small but it is filled with wonderful artworks. The gallery has meet the artists on weekends. Check their website for events throughout the year.

Got home and took one look at the studio/office space and I kid you not, there is not a lot of space to walk. Being careful not to step on any artwork that is on the floor. Which right now is a lot. I am still trying to get more work framed for other locations. Need to submit to shows with deadlines coming up very soon! Have commissions that are half done, just waiting to be finished.

I do feel like I am doing the 2 steps forward, 1 step back lately. The oil paintings are going well but just about have them spread throughout Virginia in shows and galleries. Not a bad thing but already have requests for some larger works. Today will be clean up day, kind of, will try to organize what needs to be framed. Order glass and frames, going by local art store, Mish-Mish, to pick up some canvases. Phone calls to be made for appointments and deliver more work.

It is a good time of year for the arts on the east coast. Good and busy, just need to keep that one little step ahead of things.

The Little Gallery at Smith Mountain Lake

"Zambezi Power" oil on canvas 4x12" $300.00 available at the gallery

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Little Inspiration

This past weekend was more than a little inspirational. Filled with history, osprey, water, beaches, and friends. Marilu, her daughters and I were at Colonial Beach, VA. Which was originally founded by great, great grandpa Monroe and was called Monrovia in 1650. James Monroe was born there and a monument marks his birthplace. George Washington was born near by and there is a National Monument in his honor. Alexander Graham Bell's families summer home still stands. Colonial Beach was once the playground on the Potomac River. The land is Virginia but when you get in the water you are in Maryland.

One of the biggest inspirations for me and Marilu were the osprey. They were nesting and everywhere. We had one nest right outside the little house we were staying. Which had the sun rising over the river each morning. A fine way to have one's coffee, sitting listening to the water lapping the shore line, watching the sun rise and listening to the osprey. Of course we had our cameras at hand and now have many, many pictures of the osprey. They are a curious and protective bird, they mate for life and let you know if they are not sure they like you there. They talk to you, they look at you as they do a fly-by.

The osprey are about 24 inches tall and have a wing span of 71 inches. They nest by the water and their claws are specially adapted for fishing, the main food source. Osprey go by several other names and are found just about everywhere in the world. Called: sea hawk, river hawk and (American) fish eagle. There is an African fish eagle, which I am going to do more research to make sure it is not an osprey. They are in a class of their own, Pandion haliaetus, Pandion was a Greek King in Athens who was turned into an eagle.

Now that I am filled with knowledge and inspiration, thanks to Wikipedia, I now need to finish framing, deliver work, clean my studio to make room to get back to that easel!

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Before I head out on my next trip thought I would post a bit about the last one. Boston, MA, a quick and long drive but a very nice visit. We did lots of the tourist stuff, visited with Beccy, checked out the Sam Adams tour, local pubs, aquarium, did a walking scavenger hunt and got to see the IAPS pastel exhibit at Vose Gallery. All in 2 1/2 days!

Next, I am getting together with Marilu, which always involves something creative.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Little Help From Friends And Family

The solo show: Miles To Go is hung at the VA Tech Holtzman Alumni Center Gallery. It will be up through the summer with a closing reception in September.

Getting the work done and hung was made possible with the support of my husband Rick, who also help me haul all the work to the gallery.

While on a weekend get away to the beach with VA Tech friends they too were understanding of my need to finish one of the pieces I wanted for the show. Which is now titled - "Fine Lines" a giraffe 12x36 oil on canvas.

My children often give me feedback on what works and even on color balance. 

Artists often work alone but having the support of family & friends they are never alone for long.

Thank you all for the constant support.

"Fine Lines" oil on canvas 12x36 $750.00

"Outside The Lines" oil on canvas 12x36 $750.00

"Never Forget" oil on canvas 12x36 $750.00

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...