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?