Thursday, June 30, 2016


The week is almost over, it has been a busy and somewhat of a sensory overload. Yesterday was Day 3 for the pastel class, we did coffee stained papers, watercolor under-painting and watercolor crayons for backgrounds. They were drying the rest of the afternoon as the smell of coffee lingered in the air. While those papers will be used for Day 4, the rest of Day 3 my students tried velour paper. The overall opinion - not their favored paper, I must agree, I don't love it either.

This morning I was out the door early, my friend Carly who is teaching here at Common Ground and works at the near by Nature Center. She took me over to meet some of the rescued raptors they use to teach the importance of letting wild animals be wild. Many of these birds were hit by cars, some had been ill and can't return to the wild or other special issues.

While she held the birds I was able to take some photographs. It was a beautiful morning with the smell of honeysuckle in the air. The week is flying by, in-between the rain storms, hanging art shows, meeting old friends and making new ones. It has been a great week, the energy is always up during CG, finishing the day with concerts keeps that spirit alive.

Tomorrow is the closing of the show at Rice Gallery and the reception for the Students Show 6:30 -7:45 in both Studio Bldg and Peterson Hall. Bringing another week to a close. I am already looking forward to next year at CGOTH!

Lake Hashawha - raptor center

who doesn't enjoy a little head rub

Carly and America Kestrel

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Just Around The Corner

The NOMA gallery art show is just around the corner. Opening this Friday July 1st, with meet the artist reception on July 2nd from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Kathy Bush and my every supportive husband, Rick got the show hung in amazing time. Now if our weather luck holds out, which at the moment is looking pretty good, it will be a fun opening reception.

July First Saturday events include having musicians playing around town and there will be music by NOMA. Special treats at the reception include cash and carry quick sale small works. Willow Oaks cider will be available to try, it seemed like the prefect thing to have for a hot July opening.

Kathy and I will share our art and stories of the National Parks that influenced the pieces. We have both traveled coast to coast over the years and are thankful for such beautiful inspiration. There will be a little photo slide show running for your viewing of 100 photos from our parks to help commemorate the National Parks Service 100th Anniversary.

We hope you can come on out and celebrate with us this weekend. The gallery is open Fridays from 4:00 - 8:00, Saturdays 12:00 - 8:00 (First Saturday till 9:00). We have special holiday hours July 3rd and 4th open 12:00 - 4:00 and we will be open Sundays in July from 12:00 - 4:00.

The gallery is located at the corner of 5th and Market: 437 N. Market St., Frederick, MD
Corner of 5th and Market in Frederick, MD

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Next On The List

Sunday - show hung and reception at Rice gallery.
Monday - Pastel workshop day one starting with toned Rives BFK paper. As I do demonstrations I will take photos and post a step by step at the end of the session. Beginning with charcoal, kneaded eraser and charcoal pencils. 

The students started color toned paper before end of day. Special surprise in my class Marilu showed up to work on adding abstract backgrounds to her already wonderful scratchboard works.
Ended the day with Artists Talk at Rice Gallery. With another nice surprise a childhood friend came to the talk. It was a wonderful way to end my evening.

Tuesday - Day 2 for workshop, moving on to new papers today. This workshop is filled with lots of information and is very hands-on. After class I run over to NOMA gallery to hang the "America Through Artists Eyes" show. One more thing checked off the to-do list! 

This week is flying by and enjoying every moment, except for the rain storm right after class last night. But, all is well and things are moving along. 
Toned Rives BFK cotton rag paper with powered charcoal. Reductive technique using kneaded eraser.

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's About Fives

Well up at 5:00 a.m. after a long day yesterday. Drive about five hours, did over 5,000 steps and apparently did 5 flights of stairs. Interesting how those repetitive numbers happens. 

Got me thinking about the Artists Talk scheduled for tonight at 6:45-7:45 and the theme of the talk is repetition. How it relates to art, music and are lives. I will think about that over my first cup of coffee and see how I can bring this all together. 

Until than a few more images of work at Rice Gallery or found as samples in my class today.

What's hanging at the gallery!

Cottonwood - spring song

Sample in class of pastel on handmade paper. "Wolf Moon"

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ready Or Not

Early Sunday morning, sitting quietly with my coffee. Woke up thinking, going over my check list of things going here and there. I actually have three lists: workshop, Rice Gallery and NOMA gallery. Those lists break down into sections: workshop materials for students, my demonstration set-up and my personal stuff. Gallery lists include: inventory, business cards, labels and of course art work. 

I think I am ready and if not, we will figure out a way around. The car is packed except for last minute food and water. Once the sun is up we will turn on our GPS and head out for just under five hour drive to hang the first show, set up classroom, transfer things to our living quarters for the week and head back to gallery for opening reception. After dinner,  orientations for instructors and students.That should just about call it a night. Except for music, this week there will always be music in the air.

Artist Talk: Monday 6:30-7:45 Peterson Bldg, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD - upstairs to gallery.

Here are a few images that will be at Rice Gallery. 

"Light as a" charcoal reductive technique

"Silence" reductive technique with pastel

"Within the Fibonacci 1" water based oil on panel starting with non-objective background, additive technique to develop realistic image.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

What's The Deal With Paper???

Paper - not sure when it all started. I remember drawing on any paper surface I could get my hands on, including school work which did get me in a bit of trouble. Apparently, some teachers like nice clean edges. Taking college classes and going to MD Inst., College of Art (MICA) for my BFA I discovered printmaking papers - Rives BFK became my favorite. This paper was used in drawing classes. The technique I use most often is a toned paper - BFK - with charcoal and or pastel. I love the light tooth of this paper.

Tooth - is the texture a paper has, the roughness, even though you may not see it or really feel it, it is there. BFK can file your finger nails down. I know, as I draw and my hand drags across the paper I have seen my nails file to an angle. This paper is mild in texture compared to the sanded papers many pastelist prefer. Sanded papers are like they sound, similar to sand paper but higher grade and usually made with acid free materials. Why acid free? If the papers have acid in them, they will turn yellow and brittle with time. Newsprint is a good example of paper fill with acid.

This is just the beginning of my mild obsession with paper. Many of you have attended my paper making workshops. I open up my studio once a year with recycled handmade paper. I use the papers to make little sketch books, journals, guess books. I have done pastels on them, oil paintings, watercolors and embedded photographs. It is a simple pleasure, a meditative way to recycle. The plan is to do it again in February 2017 in AZ. More to come on that later.

I did mention hot press vs. cold press watercolor papers earlier this week. Again, it come back to tooth and texture. Hot press is a smooth surface with low tooth and cold press has lots of texture, a bumpy type of surface.

Well, I think that is enough information on paper for one day. Yes, I could go on and on and on but I will spare you anymore techno babble about paper. Even if there is a support group out there to help with this addition, I am pretty sure I would have to pass. I just love working on the surface of paper.  

Oil paintings on paper surface mounted on canvas

Friday, June 24, 2016

Abstract Distractions

I was finishing the last of my coffee I had a couple thoughts come to mind I wanted to note for my workshop next week. One was the definition of abstract, the other who knows, gone with the wind...

Since, the second thought is gone at the moment I will focus on the abstract. I used the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, on-line version. Here is what it had to say about abstract.

Full Definition of abstract
1a :  disassociated from any specific instance <an abstract entity>
b :  difficult to understand :  abstruse <abstract problems>
c :  insufficiently factual :  formal <possessed only an abstract right>

2:  expressing a quality apart from an object <the word poem is concrete, poetry is abstract>

3a :  dealing with a subject in its abstract aspects :  theoretical <abstract science>
b :  impersonal, detached <the abstract compassion of a surgeon — Time>

4:  having only intrinsic form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation or narrative content <abstract painting>

This years workshop at Common Ground on the Hill, is dealing with working from abstract and taking it to a realistic finished pastel painting. How do these definitions apply? The way I work and teach is from the point of the nonobjective. A background often develops first without necessarily knowing what the final image will be in the painting. Even when I work with just one color to tone the background, it can become abstract very quickly as I use a kneaded eraser to start pulling the lights to form an image.

The visual arts cross over in many areas, math, music, poetry and science. Abstract art can be difficult to understand, insufficiently factual or expressing a quality apart from an object. To deal with a subject in its abstract aspects, is to break it down into its simplest forms: circle, oval, triangle, square or rectangle. Impersonal, it can be for some people, it does not appeal to everyone.

The last definition, having only intrinsic form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation or narrative content <abstract painting>. There is a difference between abstracting an object and nonobjective painting.

Definition of nonobjective
1:  not objective
2:  representing or intended to represent no natural or actual object, figure, or scene <nonobjective art>

The definitions are close but the abstract does refer to intrinsic form. Nonobjective, Abstracting to Realism is a bit over the top we will just use some of this information as part of the introduction and maybe the Artists Talk. To see how this all comes together I will follow it up with a step by step in a future post.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Playing In The Rain

I am doing my usual, checking my lists to see what I still need to finish before packing the car(s) up for art shows and workshop. I just added raincoat and umbrella. Hmm, just thought may be a good idea to have a few old towels for the classroom - on the list! Better to be prepared or at least try to be ready for rain storms during pastel workshops.

The challenges of playing in the rain, well first is make sure you are not running around when it is lighting. But, reality is getting pastels, paper, paintings, framed works in and out of the car without damage. Plus, for the workshop I stay on campus at McDaniel College were you bring everything you need, including bedding, towels, my little travel coffee maker and extra tee shirts. Teaching all afternoon tee shirts never stay clean. Doing Artists Talks in the evening, attending lectures and concerts, I end up changing a couple times a day, at least.

Paper and water, a tricky combination but we can make it work. Pastels work well with watercolors, on watercolor papers both hot and cold press (more on the difference in another blog). You can even put water directly on pastels but if you have a drip on a finished pastel it makes a whole different mark than one you may have intended. If water gets under the glass protecting the pastel, again, not good. Think I might add extra large plastic bags to my list. Done!

Okay, I have gone over the list and think I am in pretty good shape. As next week progresses we shall see how many thunder-boomers we need to run in and out of to hang shows and teach the workshop. Wish me luck!! Somewhere there should be rainbows.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Leave No Trace

Preparing for art shows this year I have been thinking a lot about places I have been, hikes through the forest, along the shores, and across rocky mountains. One of the things I come back to - is leave no trace. The photos and sketches I have made are for my memories of these places. When I leave I take all but my footprints and I try to keep them to a minimum.

The National Parks Service is coming up on their 100th Anniversary. I have been watching the series about the history of the parks. This has influenced my work this year. I have been going back through my photographs, picking out some of my favorites. Some to use as references for paintings and illustrations. Others I just printed off, just because I like the photograph.

If I can find my little photo screen to display photos, I will put together a slide show of places and parks. I will have this at the opening reception at the NOMA gallery show. America Through Artists' Eyes, opening July 1 through 30th, with reception to meet the artists, July 2nd from 5-9. Located in Historic Frederick, corner of 5th & Market: 437 N. Market St., Fred., MD.

I hope you can come by and see the works myself and Kathy Bush have created for July, along with the group show from the artists at NOMA gallery. Maybe be inspired to take a walk and find a special park of your own.

Special gallery hours in July: July 3, 4, 10, 24, 12:00-4:00
General gallery hours: Friday 4:00 - 8:00, Saturday 12:00 - 8:00 First Saturday open till 9:00

Tonto National Forest, AZ

Grand Canyon

White Sands, N.M.

Chincoteague Island, VA

Monday, June 20, 2016


I am at that stage of being overwhelmed with too many options. There are several things I could write about for today's blog. Trying to select what order to start, somehow I thought if I just started writing one topic would come to the forefront.

Okay, jumping in, my office/work space/studio-drawing room is overflowing with art work. These rooms are a mess, kind of, they just have limited room to walk around. The hall way is becoming the staging area. Our house in VA has two levels. You guessed it, the art is upstairs. I have figured out for the most part what is going to Common Ground on the Hill for the first gallery opening and workshop. I have more work than I need for NOMA gallery which gets hung second. Work left from that hanging will be considered for a show in the fall, that requires early submissions. Those are the shows, you just mark as hold until you find out if you get in and what works were accepted.

What it comes down to is packing art to come back east, unpacking to check for damage and determine what goes where. Than repack, label, and keep separate for each show. Okay, almost there, should be able to finish repacking/wrapping things up today. Will finish up a little more PR, fine tune my Artist Talk and workshop notes this week. Lots of little details to tie up, it is coming together and as always it will be done in time.

Hallway last week.
Hallway this week.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Can You Have Too Much Bubblewrap?

Taking a break from unpacking unwrapping art work. So far no broken glass and only a couple small little touch up's. All in all, happy things are traveling well. The extra frames arrived today and so did postcards for upcoming shows. 

The next couple days will be framing, mailing and deciding which works go to what shows. Than need to do labels,     e-vites and last minute PR. 

Now what to do with all this Bubblewrap!?!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Did I Tell You About The Owls???

Last week Rick and I went to a talk on AZ owls. Followed by a little field trip on the weekend to see Burrowing Owls. They have been relocating them since many times their homes are lost to construction.

Burrowing Owls, do not dig but they find friendly neighbors to live along side. Most other ground dwelling animals like having the owl for company. These little guys make a hissing sound that imitates a rattlesnake, used to keep predictors away.

They are one of the few owls that you will see during the day. They have long legs, brown in color with yellow eyes. Their diet is grasshoppers, small insects and lizards. They associate humans with possible meals. As we walk around fields, grasshoppers hop away, making them more visible to the owls.

There are about 15 different owls that can be seen in AZ. Not all of them live here year round. The great horned owl and the barn owl are common to just about every part of North America. They are not as easy to see as the burrowing owls. I know there are great horned owls at the Desert Botanical Gardens and my backyard.

I did get a few pictures of the burrowing owl and some day a sketch, painting may appear.

Advise from an OWL
Stay Focused
Be "Whoo" You Are
Trust in a Wise Friend
Live Off the Land
Glide Through the Dark Times
Be Observant
Life's A Hoot!
by Ilan Shamir

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sign, Sealed and...

Almost ready for delivery. Pretty much all the art is done. Ordering a few frames to be shipped to Virginia. Won't be long now to the openings of two shows.

The first opening is at Rice Gallery, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD Sunday evening June 26th starting at 6:00. There will be artist talks through out the week, I will be speaking on Monday evening at 6:00 on abstract to realism in pastels. 

The following Saturday is the opening at NOMA gallery, 437 N. Market St., Frederick, MD, July 2nd from 5:00 to 9:00. I will have 9 new oil paintings inspired by our Nations National Parks. Some represent the wildlife that make their home in the parks and preserves. I have even found a way of painting landscapes. There will be trees, long elegant trees, one of my favorite subjects. 

I hope you can come by and see if you can pick what National Park inspired the paintings.

Ready to travel

Monday, June 6, 2016


Red - White - Blue are the colors of July. At least they are for me and apparently subliminally they have appeared in the art for my upcoming show at NOMA gallery.

I have been working on paintings that are influenced by our Natuonal Parks. It seemed an appropriate subject for a exhibit opening the beginning of July.

Three new works are birds that can be seen in most parts of the country. The cardinal sitting on a saguaro cactus, a egret from Florida's gulf coast and a blue heron seen along the rocky coast of Oregon. Red - White and Blue as seen through my eyes.

These works will be on display at NOMA gallery, 437 N. Market St., Frederick, MD. Opening reception: First Saturday Art Walk July 2nd from 5:00-9:00. The show opens July 1st runs through July 30th. Special Holiday hours open July 3rd and 4th from 12:00-4:00 with demonstrations on trees and birds in pastel.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Almost Like New

I have finished all the oil paintings that needed to be completed for shipping to the east coast. Wrapped up pastel lessons, organized my pastels, toned paper with left over pastel dust and cleaned off my drawing tables. They almost look brand new. 

It is a good feeling to find a clean surface under all the creative clutter. But it won't take me long to cover the surfaces. After the oils dry need to apply vanish. The pastels need mats cut and some small works I may shrink wrap. 

I was running a bit behind schedule but starting to catch up, enough so that I took a half day off. Rick and I went to Carefree to see the elephant sand sculpture and had lunch date.

Back in the studio today to finish prepping for workshop and cut mats. Got a few drawing and pastel projects waiting to be finished. For the moment it is a nice feeling walking in to see those clean surfaces. Now, let's see how long it takes me to make a mess!

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...