Monday, December 10, 2012


Just a snippet of what I've started. I didn't want to give it all away.
As you can see, I chose to start my canvas with a rusty underpainting of burnt sienna.
For a while, it seemed as though I’d gone fallow. I thought the blanket of winter had covered me over. I began to worry whether I would ever paint again. But then I realized I just needed to rest and absorb; and when I was ready, I would make art.

Over the past few months, I've been exposed to paintings and places that keep resurfacing in my head. It started when I wandered into two galleries a thousand miles and a couple of months apart. In one gallery, I was drawn to paintings where the artist first covered the canvas with a rusty red. At the other gallery, the artist used a rich black underpainting. In both cases, the color of the underpaintings shone through, creating exciting affects I couldn’t stop thinking about.

The painters’ styles were as different as can be. One offered rich painterly landscapes lush with textured paint and detail, while the other created vast canvases with broad, glimmering fields of color—landscapes that touched me like a fading memory of somewhere I'd been before.

Added to that were the memories of our trip to the southwest. Driving, driving, driving across the California desert into Arizona, then on to the Navaho reservation where the vast openness and layers of mesas and hills march off to pastel dreams of the old ones.

I couldn't stop looking at the shapes and changing colors, the low winter sun of the late afternoon drenching the land in warmth, the distant ridges cool and soft, melting into the sky.

Then, we drove on to the mountains of Colorado, where fall was well entrenched: the ridges patchworked with grays, browns, rusts, and taupe against grasses dried to shiny straw. The colors of a falling-down house, a sweat-worn saddle, torn curtains faded to a whisper.

Finally, this soup of inspiration has come together in the form of a new painting I started over the weekend. For the first time in many weeks, I had a few spare hours and my studio called to me—much louder than the laundry. So there I went, falling back into the meditation of shape and color that I love so well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Devilish Details

Well Art Fans, we are less than a week and a half away from my annual show. Nearly every painting is framed and arranged—except for these small four pieces. Remember this "quadtych"? I love working with these small 5" X 5" canvases. 

A couple of years ago, my handy husband dreamed up a clever display method for these cute little canvases that I'd like to share with you. Borne out of necessity (a frame would cost how much?), I love this simple, yet elegant solution.

He cuts 3/4" X 3/4" strips of wood and joins them together to create a square. Then, he makes a hanger by bending a piece of metal (to just the right angle) and inserts it into the wood square. Once affixed to the back of the canvas, magically--ok, I know there are physics involved--the painting hangs flush to the wall.

These "backframes" (which probably have a real name) give these diminutive pieces just the right amount of presentation panache.

Now that Clint has done his part, I need to finish my end of the deal before he can mount the backframes onto the paintings. Since the pieces extend from the wall and the edges will not be covered with a frame, the raw edges must be finished off AND the backs of the canvases must be painted. So, I need to mix up colors to continue the images around the wrap of the canvas; and sign them, varnish them, and voila!

When you are here for the show, be sure to take one of these off the wall and check out his handiwork.

You are coming to the show, right?


I'm excited to announce I've already made my first sale. Or pre-sale, I guess. A good friend who isn't able to come to the show fell in love with one of the pieces I showed you here, California Dreaming. Now it's hers. Yippee!

If there is a painting that has been haunting you and you cannot make it to my show (November 3, 1 pm), please contact me if you are interested.

See you soon!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Come One, Come All

I know I’ve been MIA lately. Life has been hectic and painting time virtually non-existent. In the snippets of spare time I do have, I am preparing for the show—which will be FABULOUS!

We’re coming up on the home stretch with the event now being less than four weeks away. We’re matting and framing and labeling and cleaning like crazy.

Over the weekend, I created more than 75 greeting cards. This year you're going to see something very different. Each card is hand assembled with loving care. I don’t know what I was thinking—this really takes a lot of time! However, I think you will be pleased with the result.

I would like to personally extend an invitation to all of you to my annual show. If for some reason you are not on my mailing list or want to be on my mailing list, or need directions to the show, please drop me an email at

See you at the show!

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
1 pm
'til the food and firewood are spent

5260 Desert View Lane
Wrightwood, CA

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Simple Shapes, Brilliant Color

Sunset Nectarines
10" X 8"
Acrylic on Canvas

Already, I’m feeling the pressure as we begin to frame pieces for the show. This piece is evidence of that; it’s framed already!

Over last week’s long weekend, I had a glorious day of painting, painting, and more painting. I touched-up and varnished one piece and then started and completed this painting. It’s not often that I get an extended block of painting time like that. These luscious nectarines had been taunting me for a few days, rich and ripe and screaming with brilliant sunset corals, reds, and oranges. I just had to paint them. 

This was a “flow” painting. All the art forces are in perfect alignment, and the painting just magically pours out of me somehow while I loll in color and texture. Ahhh. These kinds of paintings feel so good--especially after I’ve struggled with a piece.

On another note, I’m making prints and note cards in preparation for the show. I’m printing with archival inks on fine art paper and so far, they are looking good. Let me know if there are paintings you are especially fond of to help me decide which to print. I’ll be making prints in 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, and 16 x 20. If there is something specific you want, just send me an email.
Until next time…

Thursday, August 30, 2012

California Dreaming, Again

California Dreaming
24" x 18"
Acrylic on Canvas

Like a repetitive dream, the back roads of California have an ancient familiarity to me. It’s as if I’ve known these rolling hills strewn with dark oaks for hundreds of years. Maybe I sat on the back of a wagon and watched this landscape roll by in another lifetime. All I know is when I come across places like the one in this painting; it feels like my most comfortable pair of shoes. It’s home. Maybe not the home I will always have, but the deep comfort of something that is a part of you.

The colors of this painting are very different from what you might typically see from me. There are no pines, no mountains, and no expanse of desert. So, it was an interesting challenge to capture the burnt dry grasses of the hills and the deep shadows cast by dense oaks. I think I got it‑‑though the shadows were surely elusive. As elusive as the remnants of that dream you know you’ve had so many times before that you just can’t quite recall.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Only the Shadow Knows

Here is a snippet of the painting. 
As you see, the shadow is very dark--too dark!
Can you see my frustration in the brushwork?

Work on California Dreaming continues, though the painting has taken a turn on me (like I had nothing to do with it). I'm not sure where the piece will go next. It’s that darn shadow. I'm struggling to nail down the right colors and values and I haven't found the magic combination.

All these years of mixing paint you'd think I would have figured it out by now. Yet more often than not, finding the right color and value is akin to herding cats. What makes it so difficult? Color is affected by surrounding color. You can mix up a shade of “shadowish” on your palette that looks perfect, but once you put brush to canvas it’s suddenly too dark, too light, too green, too gray, or some other color catastrophe.

Coincidentally I watched my student Morgan struggle with the same thing this week. Studiously she mixed and mixed—serious brow furrow in place—adding a dab of blue, a dribble of medium, a little more cadmium red, a touch of white. Her shoulders relaxed as she achieved the perfect color. She smiled and moved the brush to the canvas to place the perfect glob of paint.


Big sigh. "That's not what I wanted!"

Mix, mix, smear, scrape, mix, wipe, rinse, swirl.

“There! That’s much lighter.” Confidently she dabbed the canvas with the amended color.


“That looks almost the same as the last color!”

After about the fourth “OH!” we started to laugh about it. Finally, she found what she was looking for.

At one point I told her, "Mix it beyond what you think you is right. Make it lighter, darker, cooler, or warmer."

Hmmm. Maybe I should follow my own advice.