Thursday, August 16, 2018

on the water

On the Water. Monotype on Rives BFK.

While we were in the waters of the Puget Sound, we followed the story of a mother orca whose calf was stillborn. For 17 days, her grief held us in sad awe.

I am sure that I am not the only one who resonated with the loss. Even 30 years later, I still grieve the child who was not born. And while my restless sorrow has softened with time, the intensity comes back to the surface when I witness another mother's loss.

Click here for the story of Talequah, the Orca mother.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

people watching

"At the Convention" monotype, 6 x 10

While at a three day convention where my interest in the subject was only one day long, I found a way to keep myself amused. I sketched people. Lots of people. This monotype was inspired by some of the sketches.

Summer heat in the studio creates a difficult environment for printmaking. Temperatures nearing 100 degrees dries out inks in a hurry. This print happened in the cool of the morning before the day heated up. Subsequent prints, no matter how much medium I added to the sticky ink, were failures. The ink dried on the plate before I could manipulate it. Tacky ink fused itself to the paper and had to be soaked off.

The figures in my convention sketches may inspire more prints, but I will wait for cooler weather to experiment more with monotypes.

Mungo Jerry "In the Summertime."

Sunday, June 10, 2018

cutting loose

20 x 16 acrylic on panel
Joy in the process,  forget about the outcome. 

My new motto in the studio.

When trapped by my own expectations, and weighed down by my self-imposed limitations, it is time to cut loose.

Cutting loose means more risks. Cutting loose means following curiosity. Cutting loose means following the muse into painting, sculpting, knitting, drawing, playing with grandchildren, writing music, playing with a pick up band, trying new things, meeting new people, reading new books.

I will never be too old to try something new.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


20 x 16. Cold wax and oil on wood panel.
I have been curious about cold wax painting for over a year. After seeing many examples of the medium, and really liking the finished pieces, I decided to try it out myself.

I used oil paint and Cold Wax Medium by Gamblin, a Portland company. over a textured board surface. You can read more about the process on the Gamblin site here.

The texture absorbed a lot of the paint/wax in the process and I got in touch with my miserly side. The wax medium is about the same consistency as Crisco shortening, if you are old enough to have memories of using that in your cooking years ago.

What started as an abstract painting in a cruciform composition design, became more of a tree shape as I worked. I live with lots of trees, and I am okay with abstracts that turn into trees, too.

I have continued with the bird project. These small watercolor sketches are a joy to create. Earlier this Spring, at the Salton Sea in Southern California, I caught up with the California Quail. Their feathery head plume bobs as they walk and creates a little humor to bird watching.

#20 California Quail
#19 Black Capped Chickadee SOLD
#18 Cardinal (female) SOLD

"The Giving Tree" read by Shel Silverstein, 1973. A 10 minute video for the love of a tree.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

bird project

While I am not a serious birder, I do enjoy bird watching. Whether at National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, or any place I travel or hike, I look for birds.

I have attempted to paint birds over the years, but felt frustrated by the outcomes of my efforts. I even dedicated a sketchbook to bird sketches, only to give up after about 12 pages.

Finally, I tore some scraps of paper into squares and rectangles no larger than 7" on a side. And I started to paint small watercolor bird sketches.

This female cardinal sketch is #18 in the project.  The sketches are for sale, unframed. Contact me if you might be interested and I will send you images of what is available.

Cattle Egrets are smaller than their Great Egret cousins. I was lucky to witness hundreds of these birds at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. #9 Cattle Egret is still available.

When I started this project, I focused on the basic shape of the bird head and body. As I got more comfortable with the subject, I took more care with color and form. Some sketches use ink line to help delineate shapes. Others rely on value and color.

An all white bird presents its own challenges. How to describe shape within such a high key value scale? In this case, I used a very light blue to help show the forms.

#13 Bunting. The more I looked at birds, the more I cared about looking at their eyes. How does the light hit the eye, what color is the eye, how does the eye relate to the rest of the head. I want to capture that feeling of looking at the bird and being seen by the bird. Both.

Birding, or more casual bird watching, makes me feel more connected to my environment. It enriches my time outdoors. How about you?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

expanse, original music

Expanse. Watercolor.

Painful life experiences can make a person ask questions. Cracks let the light in, you might say. Avoidance let me float. Not deciding or committing allowed me to see a bigger reality.

I have been working on creating some of my own music.  I hope you will enjoy listening to this piece, "The Expanse." Thanks to my friend, Dann, for his help and encouragement.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Monotype. 12 x 12
Sometimes my art conversation are with fellow artists, but sometimes they are with myself.

Before we left on our last trip, I prepared my sketchbook by gluing random pieces of painted papers. Not every sketchbook page had a bit of collage on it, but many did. My personal conversation was all about what would happen if I threw a random variable into my sketchbook.

One of the results you saw in my previous post.

Now that I am back home, I posed the same question but related it to printmaking. What would happen if I started with some random fields of color and then added some figures by printing over the top of the color? I really enjoyed the exploration.

While I would not call if a rousing success, my goal was not at all to create masterpieces. My goal was to follow my curiosity and to not be too attached to the final results.

The best conversations go like that, don't they? No expectations, no pressure, but a free flowing exploration seasoned by curiosity and playfulness.

"Don't Know Why" Norah Jones.

Friday, May 19, 2017

birthday reflection

Self portrait, collage, ink
Another year older. AARP birthday greetings mix in with other cards from family and friends. Thanks. I know. I am older.

But, I am not upset by getting older. No, in fact I am stunned by how much more beautiful life gets as I age. Probably, because my father passed away last year, I have a different sense of how fragile and short life is. Plus, I get to spend time with my three grandsons (5, 3, and 3) and I am invigorated by how exciting and mysterious and joyous life is.

A little sorrow with the sweet. That is life.

Middle age, and with that some understanding. There are no second times around, so I must make the very most of every day I am alive.

Happy birthday to me!

Happy Birthday a capella fun. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

jump in to joy

Jump In. 22 x 22. Acrylic.

Some days I have an inner dialogue that sounds like a game of "Twenty Questions."

Is it real?

Does it matter?

Is it enough to jump into the joy and not ask for more?

This Marble Machine music brings up the same questions.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

what would happen if ...

Moving On. 20 x 20. Acrylic and mixed media on paper.
I can not force creativity to come. I can only quiet my mind and enter my studio with the spirit of play and the words "what would happen if..." on my lips.

Loreena McKennett "To Drive the Cold Winter Away."