Sunday, May 31, 2015

Still Listening

My husband Rick and I were watching the shadows at Bryce Canyons, Wall Street at sunset. We were talking about taking the time to just be still, watch and listen to nature. Our trip to these National Parks is one that we have talked about for years and we are now finally here. Breathing in the evening air as it cools, watching the changing colors in and around the mountainous formations, listening to the swallows as they zoom around on the wind currents. More adventures await us, each day we look forward to slowing down and just listening to what nature has to offer.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Is Your Angle?

We are in Kanab, Utah, today we hiked in and around different areas of the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument. The Toadstools Hoodoos, and the Paria Canyon Wilderness Area. As I was taking photographs of not only the grand mountains and formations I found myself, looking at things from different angles. Getting up close and personal with flowers, lichen, dried mud, colors in the rocks. Stepping back, sitting down, holding my camera under a fence or higher then I can see the viewfinder. What angle do you take photographs?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Still In Arizona

The last two days we have been in Arizona. We drove a few hours from Scottsdale up to Flagstaff. Continuing on North on Highway 89, 89A and 67 we were still in AZ. We crossed the Colorado River, saw Condor on and around the bridge. Drove along the Vermillion Cliffs and made a left turn going to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. A full day and so much more to come!

Grand Canyon, North Rim

Vermillion Cliffs

Condor on the Colorado

Monday, May 25, 2015

Birds Of A Feather

Saturday, Rick and I took a drive down to Tucson. The "Birds In Art" exhibit was at the end of it's stay here in AZ. I really wanted to see the show and it was worth the drive down. The show includes some of the best know wildlife artists.

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI has this annual juried exhibition. I believe that part of the show travels the country. The works at this show ranged in techniques: pyrography - the burning on paper or wood to create the image, watercolor, oil, acrylic, gouache, printmaking - woodcut, linocuts, serigraphy, sculpture and a book collage.

It was inspiring on many levels for me, not just seeing this great collection of work but making me want to work harder. Artists have a different kind of "Bucket List", their lists often include shows that they aspire to be included. This is on my bucket list!

Vicki Banks, Hunt and Peck, Bronze

Robert Bateman,, Cedar Snags, oil on canvas

Nobuko Kumasaka, Small House, (Barn Owls) pyrography on basswood

Kathy Miller, The Smaller British Birds, Hand-colored collage & vintage book

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Today is World Turtle Day

It is actually the 12th annual World Turtle Day. It is sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue (ATR). This day is meant to bring needed focus to the challenges of our little friends.

Challenges to all wildlife.

"E-Z Going" pastel on paper, Eastern Box Turtle 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Coming Soon!

Common Ground On The Hill is just around the corner. I will be teaching a pastel workshop July 6th - 10th in the afternoons from 1:00-4:00. If you are interested in taking the workshop go to the web site: click on Traditions Weeks, I am teaching the second week.

This is a great event, lots of options for classes, music performances all week long, artists talks, lectures, dancing and more. If you stay on campus, you don't even need to leave for meals.

One of the things I truly enjoy is drawing the trees. There are some beautiful older trees, add in some of the architectural features and you have a great composition. The class this year is geared off of passed years, Question & Answers at the end of each week.

We will work with multiple types of paper, a variety of soft pastels, and under-painting with watercolors. The Tips & Tricks come all week long. Dealing with how to's in: composition, lights, shadows, how to make objects not float on a page, create dimension, so your image is not flat, keep from smudging your pastels, framing and much more. Painting each day from still life set ups, photographs and optional plein air depending on weather. Demo's will include reductive and additive techniques. Including how to paint clouds, trees, and feathers (birds).

Each student will complete two or more finished works during this workshop. This workshop is open to all levels of creative souls.The end of the week all works go on exhibit for the annual student show, June 10th evening around 6 PM.

If you have additional question please email me at

Student Work from photograph

Student Work from photograph


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cactus Condo

Trees are often homes for birds and other critters. In Arizona the Saguaro is the king of housing, it is a cactus condo. Last night as we watched the birds settling in for the evening, the cactus in our backyard was full of activity. We have nesting peach faced love birds, which I think there are babies but have not seen them yet. Mom stays in the nest most of the time and Dad seems to be bringing supplies. They have both disappeared into the hole in the wall of the cactus. Hoping to see some babies sometime soon.

Along with the love birds, the ever present gila woodpecker, a cactus wren and this year we have had white wing doves. The mourning dove is another plentiful bird with their coo-coo-who-coos-for-you song.

The quail are ground cover kind of birds, nest in the middle of prickly pear cactus. Will go check on their nest today to see if there are any new babies.

Even though the love birds are not native to AZ, they are so colorful, I feel the need to do some small paintings. Maybe start with a pastel and follow up with oil painting. So, many choices, so little time!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What's Going On

What's going on in AZ this weekend, one more mural project. This one is at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel, 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale, AZ. The theme is boardwalk, each artist has to create two 4x4 foot murals during the day in pastel. The event is sponsored by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, here is the web site if you would like to learn more about this organization.

Being an east coast gal I spent many summers on the boardwalk. When I think of Maryland, Ocean City, summertime, my thoughts go to Steamed Blue Crabs - it's a Maryland thing! Guess what my boardwalk themed murals will have in them? Pictures will be posted over the weekend.

If you are in town, drop by and say hi!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Georgia On My Mind

Georgia O'Keefe said, "It is my private mountain." "It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it  enough, I could have it."

I understand how she felt about her mountain the Cerro Pedernal in New Mexico. I wake each morning and look out on my mountain ranges, there are several mountains. I truly can not take my eyes off of them. I have not done much on evening paintings, coming soon, but the mornings. I have had the opportunity to sit out in the morning and watch the sun rise from behind these mountains. I go through periods of time when I try to capture some of the changes I see, the mist, the clouds, and the colors of the mountains.

Here are a few of the small works I do while I have my morning coffee with the mountains.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Sunday morning, sitting outside looking at the reflections in the water. Listening to the birds chirp, sing, and the flaps of the hummingbirds wings. Thinking about the work I have done this week. There have been house projects that needed taking care of most of them are done. There were a few paintings I was not happy with, they now have new backgrounds and are awaiting a new image to appear.

Sunday morning a time for reflecting on the reflections and of course coffee.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Walk In The Rain

The weather in AZ has been unusual for May. This morning as I went for my walk it started raining again. Not too hard so I did walk awhile. The sky was beautiful. Bunnies were enjoying the moist grass. The colors of the trees increased intensity. A little bit of inspiration to take back to the studio. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Three C's

It is early morning, I am in my usual spot. Outside in my backyard, the birds are plentiful, the sky has been changing the colors of the mountains and I have the 3-C's: coffee, camera, creativity. I am ready to start a new day and maybe start a new painting.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

In The Shadows

There are times that it is nice to be in the shade, behind the scenes, in the shadows but today I am intrigued with the silhouette. That play of light and dark. Back-lighting, most of the times we are not even aware that something or someone is back lit. Digital photography has given us opportunities for do-overs, if someone's face is too dark to see because there is just too much light behind them. Yet, there are those pictures that work as a silhouettes, hiding their details in the shadows.

Some artists make their works all about the light and dark. Others deal with reflections, I like the little details, the closes ups. When working on the preliminary sketches for a painting, I do little graphite works of just the dark and light. These help me to see the shadows, the silhouettes, the basic form. It is good to start with the basics and move to the details.

Today, I will leave you with some silhouettes and let your imagination fill in the details.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Things

When I am outside, taking a walk, taking photographs or just sitting, watching the sunrise/set I am doing what I call mental composition. That was a long way around saying I draw in my head. There are times when I can't stop or at least can't stop too long to do a proper sketch or painting. These are the times I take a quick photo or make a mental note. Later, I take the time to put pencil or paint to paper.

It is spring time, there are lots of birds laying eggs. I do not want to scare them away from their nests. When I discover them with respect I take a few photos and move away. Some birds are much better at building nests and some don't even bother, they lay their eggs on the ground. While at the gardens I saw several nests and a few with eggs. Plus, discovered quail eggs this weekend in my front yard. The mourning dove build nests anywhere,sometimes in the saguaro cactus in the backyard, this year sharing the space with the peach faced love birds.

Drawing a nest with eggs seemed the right thing to do, so I did.

AZ Blu Bird eggs, coffee stained handmade paper, graphite and pastel
Looks like a mourning dove nest at Desert Botanical Gardens

Look closely you will see the love bird peeking out. Saguaro in my backyard. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ahhhh Moments

Happy Mother's Day to all...recently, I have had opportunities to take photographs of mother's to be...eggs...little babies, quails, bunnies  and butterflies. I am happy to be so lucky, to see the things I see and to be in a place to experience these amazing moments.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Me, The Moon And The Mountain

I hope you enjoy these images of the moon and the mountains as much as I. These mountains intrigue me, as I watch them change: not just day to day, but minute by minute. As the sun sets, the moon rises, storms come through or on a clear cloudless day they change colors and breathe a life of their own. This is only enhanced by the moon rising behind the mountains. Sometimes it catches me by surprise. As I was looking out the window I saw a glimmer of light behind the mountain. Was this the moon? I grabbed my camera and went outside to watch and capture a few shots. As I watched I realized I needed a different angle. Luckily there is easy access to our roof, up I went to catch a few more rays of moon light.

I generally do not do a lot of landscape paintings. I have done a few wee pieces of these mountains. I have loved the clouds this year and some of the night shots I have documented. I may need to do a few images with the moon, the mountains and maybe a coyote or two.

May full moon: called Flower, Milk or Planting Moon
Mountains in the morning after a storm

Mountains at sunset

Evening mountains 

Me, behind the camera, the moon and the mountains 

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