November 30, 2011

Brrrrrrr, Winter is Upon Us

Early Snow (click for a larger view)
16 x 20 dry pastel on Sennelier La Carte 

Gosh, it seems I was just putting out the summer hammocks and here it is, Winter already. I guess I should look out my studio window more often. I've been in a painting frenzy of late, getting ready for my "feature" show at Cole Gallery. I'm excited because it's an animal show and I love having an excuse to spend hours-on-end painting animals. Yes, yes, the piece above is in the animal category but it is making its way to gallery sooner (rather than later) to celebrate the Winter season. If it hasn't flown away by February, it may just be in the show.

I suspect there are many artists who do the same thing I do and that is some pretty intense thinking during painting sessions. I can go for days without making a sound or hearing a sound while I am working (well, excuse me, Miss Biscuit). I'm just stuck there, in my painting and in my brain. My recent awards have me thinking a lot lately about the balance between confidence and humility. One must have enough humility to want to continue to improve and enough confidence to work through the stages of improvements. Sometimes, it seems the stages of wanting improvement are insurmountable and then determination takes on it's role and helps me to the finish line. I do know it is a lot of work to do what we artists do so I solute you all for all you do. Cheers to creativity!

November 21, 2011

Artist's Magazine Finalist

City Beach Sunrise
16 x 20 dry pastel

I am happy to humbly announce that the painting above is a finalist in the Artist's Magazine 28th Annual Competition (December 2011 issue). Yippie Skippy - thank you Artist's Magazine!

November 19, 2011

Dusting on Strawberry Point

Dusting on Strawberry Point (12 x 18 pastel)

winter's warmth
its soft powder
dusting our strawberry point

Another wonder from my studio window. So, does this make me a plein air painter? Haha!

November 03, 2011

A Raisin for Everything

A Raisin for Everything
14 x 20 dry pastel on Pastelmat
(click to enlarge)

It might be obvious that raisins are her favorite food! This is my grand-daughter all cozied up in her camping chair that is staked out in the living room (fake camping, real raisins).

I still haven't had a chance to make my rounds. I miss seeing what everyone has been working on lately. My days have been filled with studio work so I'm not complaining. I hope y'all are finding peace at your easels. Thanks so much for stopping by. See ya soon!


October 04, 2011

A Little Sea Study

8 x 10 pastel seascape study (sold)

Hi all,
For those of you dropping by, thank you. I apologize for not posting for so long. I am in one of those art merry-go-rounds. I am deep in my art world and reinventing parts of how I do things and apparently it takes nearly all of me to do that. I miss everyone and will be by shortly to visit and comment.

Cheers and Happy Painting (I hope),

August 17, 2011

Catch me at Cole

West Beach Road (12 x 24 pastel on pastelmat)
availability information on my website
click the image above for a larger view

I love the water. I love the beach. I love anything that gives me that sense that someone just took their sandy shoes off and left them at the back door.
On the west side of Whidbey Island (in Washington State) lies a perfectly beachy road. It's one I always drive to when I feel the need for a double dose of water.

I am excited to announce my new relationship with Cole Gallery in Edmonds, Washington. I will be at the gallery tomorrow (8/18) from 5:30 - 8:30 and again on Saturday for a champagne reception from 6:30 until 8:30. I hope if you are in the neighborhood you'll get a chance to stop by and visit. There will be plenty of great art by a variety of artists.

August 16, 2011

Miss Biscuit making an appearance

 Daily Blessing (10 x 8 dry pastel on pastelmat)

As a kitty with candy striped legs
you arrived swiftly into my heart.
Sixteen years later and my heart still
smiles with each new day we share.

One of these days I will count how many paintings I have done of my litte Miss Biscuit. I never, ever, get tired of painting her. With each new piece, I can only hope to add more of her amazing spirit to this world.

August 03, 2011

Skagit Stillness

Skagit Stillness (11 x 14, pastel)
click to enlarge

It is an evening like this and the unparalleled thrill of recording it for others to share that inspires me as an artist. There is so much beauty all around us it seems I could paint all day, every day. I smile at my futile attempt to capture it all in this lifetime. And what a life it is! 

Skagit Stillness
just in time
to catch the sweet peach sun
kissing leaves on poplar trees
in the fertile Skagit Valley

July 20, 2011

Freedom Runner

Freedom Runner (14 x 11 dry pastel) sold
click to enlarge

There are so many ways to describe the beauty of a horse. One of the first ways that comes to mind for me is the joy of sharing a ride across an open field with nothing but the feel of wind brushing on your face and the sound of muffled hooves as they tap the ground in a gentle rhythm. The sound reminds me of the sound of blood moving from one side of my heart to the other. These amazing animals deserve peace and freedom. 

Hi all, I'm in the studio painting but haven't posted for a while so I thought I'd post an earlier piece. See ya soon.


July 12, 2011

Foam Dancing

Foam Dancing (16 x 20 pastel)
click to enlarge
Foam dancing on the water’s edge,
the warm sand teasing toes,
God’s light topping waves.
Surely this is counted as a perfect day.

June 30, 2011

Romancing the Rock

Fakkema Road (18 x 30 framed pastel)
view my website for more information

Whidbey Island is in the Pacific Northwest, a beautiful island in the great State of Washington and a place I love to call home. Locals call it "The Rock" because it was formed from glacial rock during the ice age.

When I was younger I never thought I would stay any place more than a year or so. That's how I grew up (military) and I didn't see that changing in my forseeable future. I had not met Whidbey yet.  But, when I did, I fell in love with land like I never had before. Yep, I'm pretty well planted here now.

June 29, 2011

Opposing but Loving You

Opposing but Loving You (10 x 8 pastel on pastelmat)
Opposing but Loving You
I am always happy
living in the same vase with you,
even though we face
opposite directions sometimes.

you are beautiful
from every direction.

June 27, 2011

One in a Crowd

One in a Crowd (8 x 10 pastel)

I didn't pick flowers - they picked me. I was innocently working away on a landscape and this is what appeared on my easel; this along with a few of its friends. I have to wonder if it's because this is the first year I actually planted flowers (my own self). Strange. It came with this little poem, too...

there is one in a crowd and
You are it.
my day would not
be as bright
without the presence of you.

June 22, 2011

Fiber Art

Fiber Art (pastel 16 x 20)
click for a larger view

Sometimes it is difficult to think of suitable names for paintings. This one seemed to have so many that were appropriate and one that kept spinning round in my head was "Yesser, yesser, three bags full" but that seemed too long. Since I am also a fiber artist, I was thrilled when the title "Fiber Art" came to mind. It stuck and I think all four of us are happy with it.

I met these sheep during an open studio tour on Whidbey Island. They live at The Black Sheep Studio which is home to artist Kent Lovelace (he was kind enough to allow me to photograph his little buddies). Kent's oils on copper are beautiful as is his studio.

These kids are showbound. I'm putting the final touches on some other pieces for my show at Scott Milo that runs July 2- August 1st. If any of you are in my part of the world, I hope you get a chance to stop by the show. I have plans to be at the opening reception but that will depend on my little Miss Biscuit. She has been ill lately so if she needs me at home, that's where I'll be. Otherwise, I'll be at the opening and hope to see you there.

I'll be around to catch up with everyone once I get my act together (yes, that will be this year). Baaa for now.

May 27, 2011

Miss Biscuit

(Turvy, 5 x 7 pastel, sold)
I'm getting ready for a show so while I am working on those pieces, I thought I would share this small study I did a few years ago of Miss Biscuit. I have done a LOT of paintings of her :), this remains one of my favorites. She is never far from my side or my heart.

I hope you all are enjoying your art!

May 16, 2011

Study Study Study

Water Me (9 x 12 pastel), a study sold
click to enlarge

It is probably no surprise that I love the water (dur). What I also love is playing with studies and stopping at points that feel a bit edgy or uncomfortable to me. This piece, done with just a few strokes of color on gray paper just calls out to me as wanting to be finished yet I really enjoy it at this stage, too. By the simple fact that is is not finished, it imbues action, almost a sense of anticipation; "it" becomes demanding. I will likely heed its demand and pursue a completed painting based on this study. It seems one just can't turn down the volume on a painting that wants to be heard!


May 10, 2011

First Lady of Law

The First Lady of Law
Ohio Northern University Class of 1896
(formerly Ohio Normal University)
 30 x 36, oil on canvas

For anyone stopping by, I would like to apologize for my absence. To my new followers, I would like to say "Welcome and thank you for your interest in my art!"

Larry and I made the trip to Ohio for the dedication of my great-grandmother's painting and were treated like royalty by the University.

The painting above was completed from a faded 1896 black and white photo of my great-grandmother. Because the photo originally came from a group photograph, mostly all you could see of Lena was her head and shoulders so what you see in the painting is what I composed as part of the storyline. You are welcome to read more about Lena and the rest of the painting on my website.

For our trip, we flew in (and out of) the St. Louis airport and feel lucky that we got out of there before the tornado hit the airport! Our hearts and prayers certainly go out to those who have felt the loss from all those tornadoes. We are certainly glad to be home and back in to the swing of things. 

I can't believe it's already time to pick up paintings from the Northwest Pastel Show! I would like to share that the "Symphony of Swans" painting was granted the Director's Award and I am very honored. I would also like to thank Kari Tirrell for her amazingly generous comment about my painting. Please be sure to see her wonderful and heartfelt painting that deservedly won Best of Show. Congratulations, Kari!  

March 05, 2011

One Show, two pieces

City Beach Sunrise (16 x 20 dry pastel)


Symphony of Swans (18 x 24, dry pastel)

I am happy to share that the two pieces posted above were accepted into the Northwest Pastel Society's show in Seattle that runs April 10th - May 8th.

Just in case you're looking for some fun shows to attend, here are a few I am aware of (yes, yes, they are all about me :) SHOW SCHEDULE

February 16, 2011

Saratoga Gold

Saratoga Gold (12 x 24, pastel)
click to enlarge

In honor of the windy weather we have been having on Whidbey Island over the past several days, I thought I would post this little piece of the storm just outside my studio.  I love this kind of weather. Well, except for the power outages. That's a bit of a bother.

Waves from the island to all, 
and always, 

February 14, 2011

Heart Stealer

Heart Stealer (5 x 7, oil on panel) sold

from Miss Biscuit and Me

February 11, 2011

Carry Hope

Carry Hope 6" x 12" oil on panel

Six inches tall, nine months to completion....I'm not sure that is going to work well in a production mode but some paintings just won't get off the easel until they are ready. This is one of those. For all that I put in to this piece I am a bit sad that I started it last May before I started making my own panels because I am not thrilled with the texture of this one. I used a Dick Blick 3/8" canvas panel for this oil painting and you can see the texture pretty clearly in the image below (especially so if you click on it).

I am considering using this piece as a study for a larger piece but if I do that math, it will take me 5 years (60 months) to complete a 20 x 24 and I'm not sure I'm up for that. On the subject of birds and girls...take a look at this amazing painting by Karen Martin Sampson (on her blog:

Thanks to all for stopping by. Happy Painting!

February 04, 2011


Red 16 x 20 on Byers panel

Four more days, four more glazes and I am pretty certain I am done with this one. Even though trucks out in fields aren't my usual subject matter, I really enjoyed working on this piece because, just as with most all of my work, I used my own photo reference for this. As you know, I had lots of time at the easel with this piece so that also meant I had lots of time to reminisce about the source of the photo.

I recall my husband (Larry) and I taking a trip to Eastern Washington and, like I often do when we take trips, I had my window rolled down with my camera halfway hanging outside just waiting for something to catch my attention. You can probably imagine after miles and miles of nothing but wheat fields, just how excited I was when we zoomed past old "RED!" I snapped my one-chance picture and that was all I needed. Just that and my sweet memory. I wonder if they ever sold any hey off that old truck. Oh, and by the way, Larry says that's a c. 1970 International.

THE GLAZE: Below is a photo of the next-to-the last step when I thought I was done but I just kept staring at it waiting to find out why I didn't really care for the finished piece as much as I did the washes. That's when I decided to add (yet another) thin glaze of  white, yellow ochre and ivory black to a) give the hill a bit more distance and b) to add a little more sunshine to the hill. I wanted to get more of that golden cast back that was in the inital glazes. I also ended up adding a few more details to Red.

My Palette
For the majority of  the painting, I used:
  Ivory Black
  Cad Red Deep
  Mixed White
  Cad Yellow Medium

for final glazes on the sky I added ultramarine blue
for final glazes on the hey I added yellow ochre

My Panel
All-in-all, I am happy with how my Byer's Board held up to all the glazing and some of the scrubbing I did with this piece. I will certainly be using it again!

Thanks for coming by to see the end result.

May you find peace at your easel.

February 01, 2011

Glaze upon glaze upon glaze


Goodness me, that's a lot of glazing! I'm on my 7th coat and still have a way to go.  I decided to use Galkyd Lite for this experiment and I am finding this a real test of patience for me. I enjoy the process of working with a pretty well thought-out value study and building up slowly but alright, already - it seems like I could have actually built the truck by now :). I still have several layers to go and thought you might enjoy seeing the process so far. 

The Galkyd Lite was nice to work with but I must say if I didn't have a full-on VOC (volatile organic compounds) air purifier in my studio, I don't think I could handle the odor. Oh, the things we do for love.

More to come...later.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy painting, all!

January 22, 2011

The Value of a Study

Patio Party (oil study on panel, 8 x 10)

While Great-Grandmother is resting in the studio, I am working on several other pieces and working with an entirely new process. Well, new for me. I've been at this oil painting thing for many years but I have never found my personal perfect setup. Whether oils or pastels (or any medium for that matter), the tallest hurdle for me seems to be the substrate. If that's not right, nothing is right. So that is what I have spent the past few years working on with my oils. You name it, I have probably painted on it. I think I have it now and as much as I resisted making my own panels, that's what it has taken for me to get to this next step.

My resistance to making my own panels was mostly about the time it would take away from my easel. That's pretty much how I measure everything but I admit that once I forced myself (out of desperation) to make my own panels, I actually treasure each one more than if I had just picked it off a shelf. I feel more bonded to the art piece as a whole, too, which is an added benefit I had not anticipated. I'm serious. After putting 8 coats of gesso on these puppies and sanding in between each one, I feel like I should name them. Each coat is applied in the opposite direction of the previous coat which, upon close inspection, gives a nice cross-grain affect to the final board. If you click on the image below, you should be able to see what I am referring to.

So, now I am thinking I can get on with the painting part. I have only gotten as far as the value studies because I enjoy them so much I don't really want to go further. But, I will...just not with this one. My next step will be to apply multiple glazes to well-developed value studies. I am equiped with an arsenal of options to try on this new surface; Neo Megilp, Galkyd, Galkyd Lite, Liquin Light and Stand oil and each seems to have its own advantages and disadvantages. Do you have a favorite? If so I would love to know which is your favorite and why.


January 16, 2011

Still working...

Biscuit and I are back from our caroling. Well, actually we got back quite a while ago and now are buried deep (really deep) in the studio. I am working on an oil painting of my great grandmother (24 x 30) that I am doing from a black and white photo from 1896. I'm sure you all can appreciate the challenge this has been and it has taken nearly all the focus I have to keep at it until it is complete. I fear if I stop, I won't have the gumption to start again and there is a timeline for this piece. My great grandmother was the first lady to graduate with a law degree (and science degree) from Ohio Northern University and so has the honorable title of being their "First Lady of the Law." This Spring the University will be doing a dedication in her honor and the painting will be part of that ceremony so I must be done soon to allow ample time for drying. No pressure, of course :). Admittedly, I am honored to do this but admit I would have found the task much easier if she had whiskers.

I am anxious to see what you (all) have been working on and apologize for being absent for so long. As soon as Miss Biscuit gives that approving look for the painting, I'll call her done and come visiting. I could use the break.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the new year!
Sandy and my little sidekick