Sunday, August 11, 2019

Afternoon Glow

Afternoon Glow
7” X 5”
Watercolor with Ink 
Picasso had his “Blue” period, and apparently, I’m in my “Line” period. I’m intrigued with color, shape, and the linear description of that shape. It started when I was going through my “starts”—unfinished demonstration paintings—and thinking about my next watercolor lesson, where students would combine ink with watercolor to experiment with a new effect.

This is that delightful ridge line in Idaho you’ve seen before (and you’ll see again). As we painted, the light began to warm as the clouds that graced us with a 30-raindrop shower wafted off to more promising places to scatter their precious moisture.

The jagged ridge ran as far as you could see. Constantly changing as the sun moseyed west, every moment the ridge shifted as features were lit, and then subdued in blue-purple shadows. The only constant was the imposing saw-toothed contour against the sky.

Sunday, July 28, 2019


5" X 7"
Watercolor & Ink

Our town has a river running through it. And, although we are not “townies”, living well outside its boundaries, we love and claim that river as ours it just the same. I’ve always loved rivers, streams, creeks, and cricks (as my mama would say). 

I could sit alongside any variation of moving water and just abide listening to its song for hours. I always wished I could live along a watercourse, but until I win the lotto, I’m happy to seek its companionship whenever I can; because when I’m in town for work, it’s just a little more than a stone’s throw away, calling out to me, some days louder than others. 

Though I take great joy in “river sitting”, it’s also the place I go when my heart hurts, or when life’s trials get to be a little more than I can bear. Our Animas has her moods too, and now approaches the time when she returns to blue green as the snowmelt wanes and the summer is well on. I think my favorite time is winter: when snow clouds gather, she is charcoal, but when the sky is clear, a deep blue black, dotted with rocks like bones, lit white with snow.

The day I painted this, I thought about how our river is the heart of our community, steadily reflecting this part of the world.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Unbounded Spring

And now, time for something completely different.

Unbounded Spring

5” X 7”
Watercolor and Ink on Paper

It’s been a while since I’ve painted abstracts. Yet it has been on my mind, one of those art swirls that slowly coalesce and then erupt in a frenzy of work. This is watercolor and ink—a technique I’ve used in the past, but not in this exact way. 

The technique was inspired an artist many years ago who came into our 4th grade class to share her art. I was intrigued by the way she filled her paintings with lines and shapes. That was a long time ago, but suddenly the idea resurfaced again.

This piece was inspired by our amazing spring brought on by a wet winter. Even the old-timers say it was the most beautiful they remember. How appropriate that the summer monsoons have arrived and it is raining as I write this post…let the green continue!

Spring Inside

Spring Inside

8" X 10"
Watercolor on Paper

It was a long winter. Not complainingit was beautiful and we needed the moisture. The gift it brought was the most lovely spring I’ve seen—everything incredibly lush and green, wildflowers everywhere. Every plant, every tree took in a big gulp and let out a sigh of relief.

In late winter, before the earth erupted in green, our dining room held a folding table jam-packed with our optimistic veggie starts. We dreamed of the garden bounty they would bring. Nestled among the tomatoes and peppers, was this delightful geranium bursting into bloom.

Early in the year, I started teaching watercolor classes. This painting began as a demonstration to show my students various watercolor techniques (wet into wet, wet over dry, washes, and layering). The blooms lasted and lasted, giving me a chance to finish the painting as it declared spring was on its way.

The garden starts didn’t fare as well. We had a killing frost two-thirds of the way through June that took out good part of the garden plants I’d lovingly planted the week before. That’s Mother Nature, though. You never know what she’s going to throw at you.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Missionary Ridge

Missionary Ridge
17” X 9”
Acrylic on a reclaimed cabinet door

There’s two feet of snow on the ground and more on the way (yay), but I was lost in this memory of our summer monsoon season as I painted this piece. 

We packed up a lunch and our fishing gear and headed out to explore Missionary Ridge, north of Durango. We were heading out to Henderson Lake, to try our luck fishing. It was another sweltering day, but as the road climbed, the air cooled, and we rolled down the windows and let it wash over us in joy.

It was early in the monsoon season, and we’d yet to get a decent rain, so as we watched the clouds billowing and building to the north (right where we were going!), we cheered them on, hoping for a downpour.

Clumped patches of wildflowers in brilliant pinks and purples spattered the grassy hills. Dense stands of deep green spruce alternated with swaths of tree skeletons left behind by the catastrophic fire that swept the ridge in 2002, burning more than 70,000 acres.

By the time we reached the lake, thunder rumbled steadily. The sky to the west was purple with swollen, angry clouds. “Come on, rain!” we said, breaking out our chairs and lunch in defiance. There’s no better way to guarantee rain than showing the weather gods you aren’t taking shelter when they growl at you.

The lake was serene and fringed with lush emerald vegetation, a happy sight, and much needed reprieve from the dry, pale tufts of last year’s grass and parched trees we had at home, just a few miles away. It had been a dry winter and our spring grasses barely made a showing before the heat came on hard and without mercy. 

Despite our taunts, the rain stayed to the west. We tossed a few lines into the mirror of a lake, but the fish took no interest in our offerings. We dawdled for a while longer and enjoyed watching the late afternoon light on the land as the clouds moved on, gifting us with a few spatters as we traveled back down the hill towards home.