December 12, 2008

Tell me it's not already December :). Oh, wait, I have a few holiday things to share so I guess that's a good thing.
The Singing Tree
5 x 7
pastel (sold)
I found this tree while skipping through the forest and was so surprised when I saw how bright it was! After considerable thought, and careful investigation, I surmised those glowballs are fireflies all bunched up together so they can stay warm in the winter snow. I find it enchanting how they light up the snow and pine needles around them. It is possible I may have heard them singing Christmas carols; I know I found myself humming a few while I was painting...

November 06, 2008

Whidbey Island view pastel painting

Strawberry Point along the Sweet Saratoga
11 x 14

A very fine evening was spent here. This is part of my plein air series - can you hear the geese in the background? The field behind where I was positioned for doing this painting is the same field where the Snow Geese visit in the Skagit Valley every winter. Thousands of them!

The main land mass in the painting is Strawberry Point (where I live) on the east side of Whidbey Island. When I got home and looked reeeallly closely at my reference photos I realized I could actually see my house in the pictures!
This piece is part of my current gallery showing at: Scott Milo Gallery in Anacortes, Washington.

October 21, 2008

Bird Pastel Painting, Mourning Doves

Early Snow, dry pastel
16 x 20
Pricing and availability can be found on my website.
Our mourning doves come to visit every year and they always bring a smile when they arrive. Sometimes I think I know which one is which from the previous year but then when there are twelve or thirteen on the birdbath it gets a bit difficult to tell who is who!

Cat Oil Painting, Perfect Perch

Perfect Perch
5 x 7, mixed media

Oh my, this was fun! This is a mixed media experiment on Richeson’s (relatively new) pastel paper. I am so excited about this new process I can barely contain myself! The paper has a bit of texture to it and the best I can describe it is “grainy” but it's not overwhelming - it adds just the perfect amount of texture. It’s just luscious and the colors are well-saturated. Though technically a "mixed media," the final stages of this piece were done in oils and then varnished.

The scene is of Biscuit, back on top of her favorite chair in “our” studio. I think she likes it on her perch because she is perfectly positioned for getting petted every time Larry and/or I walk past her to get to the studio sink or to the office. AND her chair is right next to the gas fireplace so she can stay nice and toasty during her long winter baths. So, the more I write, the more obvious it becomes that, indeed, Biscuit has discovered the perfect perch.

Cows and poetry

Most Magical
I'm quite
we heard
the same
laugh of the
same little
girl in the pasture.
I'm glad
we could share

October 17, 2008

about those gulls...

11 x 14 pastel
And Five Makes Happy Hour

Gull and Girls
where there are gulls
there will be girls
because they, too,
love the wind
and sea
and warm sand
on their toes.

I discovered that along the California Coast, just as along the Washington Coast, seagulls seem to gather on the sandy beaches just about the same time every day. Hmmmm.... just makes me wonder if they have their own kind of Happy Hour. I know these five seagulls certainly had a lot of catching up to do when they arrived.

This painting was selected for inclusion in a limited-edition hardcover, book published in 2007 by Richeson School of Art and Gallery.

October 06, 2008

So what's this about you being an artist?

Forever Yours
11 x 14
No, not everything is for sale, well, at least not my husband or cats :)

Just to answer a few questions I've been asked about my art...
When do you know when to stop?
How perfect does it have to be?
What difference does it make?
Are you obsessive about your art?

I can't "release it" if it's not right. I can let some parts of a painting remain “mooshed” and completely obsess over a strand of hair in another part. I can think I’m done, sign it and walk away from it. That sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

It's not, because the painting (or so it seems) will call me back to the easel, relentlessly at times. Time and time again. You might think I could choose to ignore it. The fact is, I can’t. It's the very thing that keeps me awake at night and what makes an eight hour drive seem like one. It’s that one thing in a painting that’s just not quite right...WHAT is IT? Is it the surface? Is it the value? the hue?...the message? chomp, chomp, chomp. It eats away until it gets what it wants; resolution on the canvas.

It's that inability to let it go that I hope, one day, will be what makes me a great artist in my own eyes and heart. Though I doubt I will ever know when (or if) that actually happens. I think there’s too much elusiveness in the creation of art to have a “there” moment. Art is ever-changing; it will never repeat itself and is never predictable. That’s the very reason art is so treasured and it is the essence of what makes it so valuable. After every piece, the artist stops doing that thing and starts doing another. Growing with one’s art, as in any relationship, is learning to understand and accept change and probably more than anything, embrace serendipity. It’s wonderful that as an artist I can have, and share, snapshots of that relationship in the form of paintings.

October 05, 2008

Cat Oil Painting, A Warm Welcome

A Warm Welcome 6 x 6 x 1.25
What a welcome sight she is when we walk in the door! Biscuit’s always got that look like she’s just so happy to see us. This painting captures the moment just before she bounces off the couch to tell us all about her day and what she did, and who she saw, and how many things she protected us from while we were out playing all day.

This is painted on one of those small 6 x 6 x 1 ¼ canvasses that doesn’t require a frame; it’s just so adorable! I love that it can sit on a table top, a shelf, a window sill…just about any place that needs an added smile and a purr.

September 26, 2008

Pastel on Watercolor Paper

Tread Lightly 12 x 22
Pastel on Arches Watercolor paper
Charity Supported: Pasado's Safe Haven

It has taken me awhile to let go of this piece. I have decided to finally decided to offer it for sale. In my mind, it is just so tranquil. I can pop in there so fast when I need a place to "be" that is just a little more calm than where I am. It's a special place in the valley (Skagit Valley in Washington) that is home to lots of animals roaming freely and, strangely, every time I've been there the sun has been shining. Anyone living in Washington knows just how strange that is.

This was one of those experimental pieces that just fell together and I loved every minute of working on it. One of those I was there but not there pieces so it was fun to be done, sit back, and then say "Oh, look what happened while I was gone!" It is painted with a variety of pastels (Nupastels, Unisons, Schmincke's, Diane Townsends, and a few others I'm sure) on Arches watercolor paper. From a distance, it looks pretty smooth but up close you can see the texture of the surface. Loads of fun!

September 25, 2008

Alley, a crop of a pastel

This is a crop of a painting I did of my niece's friend. I took the liberty using lots of different textures for her scarves and her jacket. I like the way the soft green and teal scarf contrast with the metal and zipper on her jacket. Just my take but I think it works.
I used Wallis museum sanded paper and did a full turpentine wash to get the soft gradiated background. That orange is an intense color but was a blast to work with - especially against Alley's soft skin tones and green, green eyes!

September 07, 2008

Cat Oil Painting, Heart Stealer

Heart Stealer 5 x 7
supported charity: Best Friends
sold $150

This piece was auctioned with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as the recipient of the eBay Givingworks donation. I chose them because they are a member of the Rapid Response team in compliance with the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition and are assisting as needed with misplaced animals of the GUSTAV hurricane.

No matter which way you look at her, she'll steal your heart if you get too close. I had so much fun painting this oil of Biscuit on her favorite rug, playing with her favorite red heart toy, and giving me that little wink that she does sometimes. If you are at all familiar with my art, it might appear that everything is all about Biscuit. Oh, wait, it is.

It was so much fun to get back in to oils again for this piece. I've been away from them for awhile and, perhaps because they were my first art-love, I always get the "ah" factor when I get them out again to start a new painting. This one was especially enjoyable because I used a new surface, too. I tried using the relatively new Unison pastel board. What a treat that is for oils. As a precaution, I checked with Terry Stanley at Richeson art (the manufacturers) and she noted the surface holds up great for oils. So, this won't be my last on oil on this board. I will, however, be buying more brushes. They look like Biscuit's new chew toys after using them on the pastel surface.

August 26, 2008

Cat Pastel Painting, Classic Beauty

Classic Beauty
7 x 5 supported charity: Sarvey Wildlife Center
Our Biscuit seems to be transfixed by the sweet smell of the freshly picked roses. Often, the problem is deciding between the red, white and pink ones. For this painting I decided not to choose. But instead, I included as many as I could fit in this small format, being certain to leave room for the little Princess to make her cameo appearance and to show her approval of my selection.

August 24, 2008

Cat Pastel Painting, Evesdroppers in the Kitchen

Evesdroppers in the Kitchen

5 x 7 supported charity: Cast-away Cats
sold $100

Gravy always seemed to think he was in charge of everything that went on in our house (hmmm) so when Larry and I would be making plans, Gravy and his little sidekick, Biscuit, could usually be found with their ears tipped just right for listening to every....single....detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with our beloved Gravy while working on this painting! We are so blessed to have had him in our lives.

June 20, 2008

Cat Pastel painting, Cover Girl

Cover Girl
5 x 7 supported charity: Cast-away Cats
sold $153

You know, Biscuit gets a little worn out with all the modeling she does. I can't really blame her for wanting to just kick back and take a break every now-and-again. And just to be sure I don't get the camera out, she covers up that sweet little face when she's on break. Ha!

June 16, 2008

Love Letter to the Sea 685

Love Letter to the Sea, 685
5 x 7

Another in my series of Love Letters to the Sea. This one is from a trip right outside my studio, and on to the deck. Early evening is the best time to catch the sun as she starts setting off just to the South of us (yes, yes, that's still in the West).

June 11, 2008

Cat Pastel, Studio Chair

Studio Chair, Taken
5 x 7
supported charity: Cast-away Cats
sold - $205

Biscuit loves our time spent in the studio. It's her favorite place to be. She's even been known to help me pick out just the right color pastel if I get stumped.
5 x 7s get pretty small when you have a lot to fit in that space! I can always tell when a painting is going well; I don't want to stop - for anything - and I don't want it to be done. I believe there is an art in simply knowing when a piece is done and has had enough of you messing with it.

Love Letter to the Sea 684

Love Letter to the Sea 684
7 x 5
supported charity: Orca Network Organization
sold $51
Another in my series of Love Letters to the Sea. This one is from a trip along the infamous California Coast where we navigated Hwy 1 (and 101) in our little RV. I kept getting tossed from side to side and took the opportunity to snap some photos while being jostled about.

June 10, 2008

And, of course, Kitty

I love this pose by our little Biscuit in this piece.
Always the Princess
5 x 7 pastel
sold - $152 partial proceeds to Cast-away-Cats charity
It doesn't seem to matter much what she does, she's always beautiful to me and always looks like she belongs on a throne.

June 06, 2008

Love Letters to the Sea 683

Love Letter to the Sea 683
7 x 5
supported charity: Orca Network Organization
sold $50

I'm in love with the sea. I know that's no surprise to those who know me. I'm doing a series of small 5 x 7 or 7 x 5 daily paintings and this is one of them. This one is pegged to help out the Orca Network Organization that is a 501-c group from right here (on Whidbey Island), run by some wonderful folks!

May 27, 2008

More water, please

Whidbey Island Life
16 x 20, pastel
sold $775 partial proceeds to Orca Network Organization

Though well-planned, this piece is straight from the heart. Those are "my" waves, the ones just outside my studio and I study them with a passion, almost to the point of drinking them, I think. I'm back to Sennelier La Carte ~ I just love this paper. I chose the salmon-colored paper, which I often do since it is the complimentary color for the blues in the water. It adds a great vibration in the painting. I photographed this painting as I worked through it in anticipation of using it as part of an instructional video (thanks for that idea, friends and family). Please stay tuned for that and let me know if you're interested. If you are, it will kick that project up a notch further on my radar.

Whidbey Island Life (16 x 20) can be seen in greater detail on my website.

May 18, 2008

Getting Sparkked

Just before the entry date closed, I discovered Pastel Journal's Creative Spark competition and entered this piece from our first trip to the Grand Canyon, along with some others. I really enjoyed the process of reliving the trip(s) through my own art and realized, once again, just how much we, as artists, put in to each piece we create. It was a great exercise and one I plan on doing again, as soon as I can find that block of time.

Here's the link to the blog where you can read more about the Creative Spark project/competition. I hope it will get your creative juices flowing:,date,2008-05-16.aspx

This piece is titled Grand Indeed (25 x 20). You can read more about it on my website.

May 05, 2008

Seascape using Hahnemuhle Velour

Always going and always growin' - or so it seems. Times are busy but I've come to realize I must be the one who makes it that way. I get wrapped up in wanting to do so many different things, it gets difficult to fit them all in to the bucket. After a spell of other projects, I made it back to the easel for a day of painting.

This is a scene from my local area, Whidbey Island, Washington - I LOVE it here!

Hahnemuhle Velour
I wanted to try out some new-to-me pastel paper. It's Hahnemuhle Velour, mould-made paper, from Germany. The company has been around since 1584 so I figured they should know what to do to make quality paper.

This is my first attempt on the new surface. It's 9.4 x 12.6 inches because that's the size of the paper. It's soft and I like how it takes the pastels. I used the same variety of pastels I usually do. Nupastels, Unisons (ahhh), Schmincke, Sennelier & whatever else is close-at-hand. The paper held it well but there are no hard edges here! I'll probably try some more experimenting with this ~ I enjoyed working on it.

I think artists typically fall into two different categories regarding supports and supplies. Some work with what is there and standard and others just can't seem to stop trying to reinvent the wheel. As torturous as it is; I fear I fall into the second category. Such as it is; it is.