Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morning Tulips

Morning Tulips

When a friend brings an artist flowers there is no telling how much enjoyment they'll receive.    Most mornings I try to do a little yoga and stretch this body out, but this morning's stretch was quite different.   I stepped away from the yoga mat and away from the studio.  Time to set the easel up right in the dining room where the morning sun bathed the cad red and whites.  It was so delicious to look at, I didn't even stop to eat.  

My goal for this stretch was to mix colors without over mixing.  I did this by mixing a large pile of local color (red shown here) and warming some, lightening some, cooling and darkening.  Rather than drawing each flower, I looked for 
large shapes and within these shapes varied temp and value.  
I continued this process and then added contrasting color spots in selected 
areas looking for a vibrant living feel.  I like where I ended 
but also see things I would like to try a little different.   
Now that my yoga mornings have competition, 
I will have to start alternating stretch the body, 
stretch the creativity... and always look to stretch the soul.

Morning Tulips
8x8 Framed

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mt McKinley... Plein Air... The story.

What a glorious day.  
Driving south from Fairbanks, Mt McKinley in Denali National Park 
shared it's magnificent face for miles and miles.  After seeing it sneak it's peak from the distant and watching it grow as we got closer, the mountain 
beckoned to be painted.  
There was definitely a chill in the air but it was perfectly clear.  
I set up quickly and began.  
A couple from Virginia stopped to photograph the mountain too.  The couple worked together taking photos with a very large lens on a tripod. The woman took a break and and came by to see what I had painted.  Her comment was that I was capturing more of what it felt like being there than their camera could come close to.  That was a great compliment 
to me AND the best reason why we paint outdoors.

So I covered nearly all of the canvas except the bottom two corners.  There was something pleasing about the loose strokes of paint at the bottom 
but I wasn't completely convinced it was finished.  

Completed Plein Air

As an artist, one of the great things we can do is to bounce ideas and thoughts off each other,  BUT.. where I live, it's a little isolated.  I am an hour outside of Anchorage, Alaska and there are some wonderful artists here in Wasilla, but I wasn't scheduled to see them for some time... 
so once again I say, I love Facebook.   
I posted this piece online on my page and a plein air 
painters page and asked for input.  
It was grand.
Many opinions and great suggestions.  One that really intrigued me was to place saran wrap over the bottom and try some things on for size.  Brilliant I thought! 

darkened all the way

lighter values w/ contrasting temps 
hints of snow and lighter values

  So, here are three options, and three 
  pieces of saran wrap.  All dark on both 
  sides lost interest for me.  Keeping a bit 
  of  a lighter value was better.  But 
  adding warmth to one side and cooler
  snow to the other felt best to me.  

Thanks to the many talented artists 
and the use of the internet, I found a solution.
Now, to carry it through.

"In View of Greatness"
10x10 Framed

Interesting fact... 
Mt McKinley was named after President McKinley in the late 1800's but
Athabascan Indians have always referred to it as Denali, meaning the Great One. 
After many legal battles the park is now Denali National Park 
where Mt McKinley resides.
However you will commonly hear Alaskans refer to the mountain as 


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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Alaska's Night Sky

Sometimes I complain a little about sleepless nights.
Not this week.
This week I've watched a beautiful moon rise slowly over the not to distant range casting warm glows on clouds and mountains.
I watched the Aurora Borealis dance it's ribbony curtain just above our house. 
 Last night a 1:00 in the morning we made a quick run to 
Hatcher Pass that lasted three hours!
A bazillion or more stars twinkled in delight above the jagged snow capped peaks.
I do believe, there, I could see the speed of light.

So at 17 degrees and quite windy I decided not to set up my easel and attempt plein air, although there will be a day... no night... that I will!

Instead, I set my camera up.  Finally giving into the fact that a tripod does wonders!
I am still in the very early learning stages of camera use and learning by experimentation but they are still worth sharing because if you haven't ever experienced something like this for yourself, I want you to at least see it through my eyes. 

And so the first little study for my Alaska Nocturne looks like this...

This is just a little 6x6 sketch to begin the process. 
I always enjoy watching other artists journeys and thought you might enjoy this one too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Road to Achham

"The Road to Achham"
Helping Hand Nepal

There is a wonderful soul who spends her own time, finances and heart with those less fortunate.  She flies to Nepal and lives with the locals.  Her job there is to help those in need of medical help that have no other way to recieve it.  She encourages and returns living with families like any other local.   Thank you Linda Jay Jackson for all you do.

There is another wonderful lady who continues to give back to the community.  She doesn't fly to faraway countries but opens the door over and over again to help the local neighborhood.  Although her business is sales of art supplies, she does much more than sell,
she encourages and offers opportunity for artists over and over again.  Thank you Rene Haag of Blaines Art.

Together they are doing wonders.  Every day in the month of March floor space is made available for an artist to promote and paint.  Each artist donates a painting to be auctioned off.  All of the money raised goes to Helping Hand Nepal and all of the money HHN recieves, goes directly to the people in need. 

Follow Blaines Art Supply on Facebook 
or check out the website
or just let me know if you would like to bid!

Bidding will be available online and closes May 2, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Above All Else

Painting Air!
"Above All Else"

An exciting an exhilarating challenge for me once... but twice? 
I had to do it!

The first "Above All Else" was painted from a beautiful morning out my bedroom window.  It felt like one of my favorite artists of the past, 
Maxfield Parrish, was showing me his inspirations. 

 Okay, well it may not be a Maxfield Parrish piece, but his adaptations of warmly lit clouds clearly inspired me to no end on this one.  
I have to say though, when I finished this 11"x 14" there was a little part of me that felt some disappointment.  It's not that I wasn't happy with the final painting, it's just that   
I wanted to hang it over the fireplace and revisit that feeling of 
awe, taking in God's beauty...but it was too small for that space.  
(Although I'm sure there's a perfect space somewhere for this size)

 So, bigger I went!
The larger canvas that I chose is 24"x36".  It's a 2" deep gallery wrap canvas that's edges are painted so the cloud scape wraps all around.   It can be framed or left unframed, but let's get back to the painting part!... the good stuff!
Painting the air filled with water, reflecting the setting or rising sun, finding the enormous mountain ranges as a sliver of a serving plater for what the sky has to offer was for a second time a spiritual journey in painting.  

But a different journey.   For both paintings I chose to use primarily transparent colors.  Occasionally a cadmium red was added to help neutralize a blue.  The biggest difference in application was the first and smaller artwork was painted in an Alla Prima style.  One stroke of color laid next to another, building the scenery one stroke at a time.   
The second and larger piece was a process of many glazes.  Painting a colored area and letting it dry a bit, then lightly painting over the same area with a warmer or cooler color.  A little more time consuming process but each canvas seems to speak it's own life.  I am happy to take part.

Hope you enjoy.

"Above All Else" 11x14 Framed

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"Above All Else" 24x36 Gallery Wrap

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Reworking the Land

Reworking the Land, Larsen's Place

11 x 14
Oil on Linen Panel

A family friend has recently retired.  He worked for about 30 years with every drop of being he has.  He reworked raw land in the Matanuska Valley, Alaska year after year.  
Kent always had the most beautiful cut flowers and the most fragrant herbs.  Florist and fine chefs would scoop up most of his jewels before any had time to reach the public.  He catered to perfection. Businesses and locals reaped the reward.  Fresh tasty veggies that hadn't sat on a barge before reaching Alaska, succulent tomatoes and the most bountiful flower baskets to be had.   
You have to understand that although Alaska summers can be beautiful, they can also be harsh.  Even though the days are long, the summer can feel quite short.  
Kent would start in the winter months choosing seeds and starting them indoors.  His home is one that was shared with all the seedlings, like a parent raising young with hopes of them going out one day and beautifying our world.  Through rain, cold, sun, and even moose chomping away at his crops he persevered and continued his passion to perfection.

I painted this scene a couple of years ago.  Today I reworked it a little and as I did I was reminded of countless days my friend Kent reworked his land.  
I am so thankful for people who live with passion.
Thank you Kent, and enjoy your retirement.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Visiting the beautiful grounds of the Old Mill in Pasadena was like a visit to Tuscany. We painted in the Pomegranate Courtyard and the pomegranates were plenty. I took many photos but hope to go back there to paint Plein Air. The ironic part of the whole visit was that I was in a workshop with Ruo Li on painting the ocean. So we stood there in the quintessential courtyard painting ocean waves from photos. I was happy on both accounts.
The story continues to amuse me because the photo I painted from was from last winter's trip to Kauai. All the wonderful worlds collide. Thus the name...Collision.

My study for this painting was to focus on the light that glimmers through the water while it sits at it's clearest state and the shadow the uplifted water throws on itself.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

El Pescador's Beach House

It was another gorgeous day and we were going to once again paint El Matador. It's one of those places where you can set up in one spot and just turn to paint another, and turn again...full of perfect compositions. What we didn't keep in mind is that is was Sunday and everyone else enjoyed the thought of being there. After circling the parking lot with no avail, we cantered down the Malibu coastline discovering new little places. Access was sometimes too difficult, and other times parking was the issue... until we landed upon El Pescador, a quiet little beach seemingly made for locals. By then it was nearly 4pm! Time for the rapid fire painting to begin. Three little sketches were completed in three light changing hours.
The sun was about to set. The brushes were dropped. The palette, scrapped and ready to renew. Quickly now, choose your moment and start painting. Brushstrokes mixed with loud "Oh MY"s and sudden change over to camera lens. Watching, painting, and then photographing until the crimson clouds turn dark and the air turns cool, no...cold. The quick pack up in jubilation from the moment turned to the heat blazing from the car as we wander our way back home tickled by the wonderful events of the day.

Two 6x8 gems and one 6x6 wave gem. Contact

Sunday, September 29, 2013

El Matador

I'm once again visiting the beautiful state of California.
Fine friends and beautiful scenery.

Day one and I start my journey painting with great artist friends.
First stop is Leo Carrillo, a favorite and familiar painting spot. After the first morning painting was complete, we are then off to a new spot. It is an amazingly surreal place where giant rock formations long ago found their way to the beach. The warm light reflects off the backlight giant boulders standing firm in their homes.

El Matador stands beautifully in any light.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Color Burst

Nothing beats a dreary day better than a 
burst of color.

Fresh cut flowers on the dining room table, 
big yellow daisies and bright pink tulips.

Life is good.

Color Burst
A 6 x 6 Burst of Happy

Original Oil
$250 Framed

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Silver Lining

Well it's an old saying and it usually refers to clouds
although the clouds are not usually the issue.

This "Silver Lining" was near the end of a very long and dark Alaskan winter.
Just along a busy well traveled road,  just a moment of the turn of a head, 
that's where I saw this silver lining.  

After driving by this little creek so many times, remembering the little house 
where the grandmotherly lady once lived and babysat my youngest child,
on this day I had to stop and take some photos.  

Silver Linings is an attitude, a memory, and a reminder that
the light that shines in the distance often reaches out to us 
like an old friend.

"Silver Lining"
9x12 original oil
$595 Framed

To see more of my artwork, visit my website at

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Maggie's Makin' Pie

Maggie's Makin' Pie

I could easily become an avid bird watcher, 
that is when I'm not painting them.  

This is the third blog post painting done on a slick gessoed panel.
Once again, I loved the ability to paint on and wipe off the oil pigments.
It allowed a very soft and abstract sense of light in the background 
and clarity and light in the foreground. 

Those beautiful magpies, so deep in color and contrast, brighten my day.
Maybe Maggie won't actually make a pie today 
but she certainly is adept enough to collect 
all the berries needed!

Maggie's Makin' Pie
8 x 10 oil on panel

$285 unframed

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chinese Shade Tree

Chinese Shade Tree

In keeping up with a rapid fire painting challenge (one per day)
I found myself back at one of my many favorite photographs 
from our recent trip on the Inside Passage.

This one however is still very much on land.  It was a visit to a wonderful Chinese Garden.
There is a photo below that inspired this painting.
There was another inspiration for this painting too.
It was experimentation.

A hardboard panel, some oil paint put on, some lifting with towels, adding more paint, and lifting with a rubber point. 

I decided that I like it :)
The lure of a water color looking background 
and the strong popping colors of oil.
Simple strokes and a couple of details,
enough said.

Chinese Shade Tree
5 x 7

These certainly fun pieces to create and share 
but I am feeling the need to get back to some larger 
paintings again.  Perhaps I'll be sharing some previously completed 
pieces while working on new ones.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rockport Jewels

Rockport Jewels

Well, here it is, day two of Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 Challenge, 
and I am already a day behind.   I've decided to not be to hard
on myself and write and paint and share as my life recommends.

During this time, I hope to share some quick sketches that keep alive 
some of my recent travels and share them with you .

This wonderful day was shared with my sister-in-law while
I was visiting family in Massachusetts. 
(and you know I'm from there because I didn't even need spell check to say that correctly:)

She and I had just finished meeting up with painter Caleb Stone where we 
plein air painted at a quarry in Rockport.  The sun was hot, the water was deep there and the ocean was in the distant view.  
Perhaps that will be another days post.  
After painting, exploring, photographing, and eating lobster for lunch, 
she and I stopped at one more spot for some local seafood and a fabulous view.

These three sweet rowboats sat anchored by the dock within our tables view.
The warm wooden dories were bathed in the glow of the pre-setting sun.

Moments like these, I often feel how I would love to revisit but so many times when we try it isn't the same...
And there you have another reason why I paint.
I hope you enjoy the moment with me.

Rockport Jewels

Framing options available.
Just send an email to 
Click here to inquire about framing options

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Alaska's Inside Passage

Time for Travel

I am a true believer in there is a season for everything.
This has been a season of travel for me.
Most recently a trip with my dear cousin, traveling on a cruise ship through 
Alaska's Inside Passage, and then another week playing on the mainland.

Our trip started with us meeting in Seattle.  We spent the afternoon there and then spent two days in Vancouver before boarding the Coral Princess to discover new territories.

Day One...

Seattle's beautiful sunny weather (at least when we were there) greeted us with lunch on the pier under a giant ferris wheel, then a walk through Pike St Market but the highest point of the day was visiting the Chihuly Exhibit under the Space Needle.  A most impressive display of glass and light.
Enough to take one's breath away.

Day Two...
Vancouver, BC

A lovely time discovering the famous Gastown, a open air bus tour around the city and the stunning Stanley Park.   Funniest part was our guide.. nicknamed... 'Larry the Cable Car Guy'!

The Chinese Garden in non-other than China Town was delightful.  A wonderful volunteer guide who called himself Gary (I think because no one would be able to quickly repeat his real Chinese name) was so informative.  Unlike any other Chinese Garden I've visited, Gary explained the meaning behind Yin and Yang.  He pointed out examples all over the garden, in landscapes and in the decorating art of fen shui.

 Say "Hi" to Gary :)

 Plenty of shopping to do in Vancouver... especially window shopping!

The steam clock plays a wonderful little ditty every half hour

This one needs to be painted!

Although my paints were with me the whole time, I never had time to paint...
so, stay tuned for upcoming paintings!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"Who Am I"

Too much time has gone by since my last post.  
Many months, two trips outside of Alaska, a workshop, 
and some in-state travel and painting.  
So my blog may continue but not necessarily in chronological order!

After meeting the lovely and talented Michelle Dunaway last May in Vermont, 
I asked her if she would like to join Alaskan artists for a local workshop. 
She did indeed and I was fortunate enough to have a hand in locations and models but 
not without the help of others.  We had the most amazing three days.  
The weather was beyond Alaska perfect, our locations couldn't have been better, 
our models (all first timers) were perfect and Michelle imparted 
her wonderful artist spirit and knowledge to 15 Alaska artists June 7-9, 2013.

On the third day of our workshop we met at the 
Little Su River at the base of Hatcher Pass.  
Always a favorite place to paint, but add in Sydney with the 
Native Alaskan red blanket and mukluks and wow,  
A fantastic day! 

In the morning, Michelle demonstrated.  
This photo shows the very beginning stages of blocking it in.

In the afternoon, we painted... and so, here is my version of Sydney at the Little Su.

"Who Am I"
16 x 12

Thursday, March 14, 2013


24 x 36 Original Oil
Gallery Wrapped, no framing necessary

That feeling you have when you can not look away.  The moments when all the world slips away.  
The rustle of nearby grasses, a soft and gentle breeze 
and the song of the sea birds lingering in time.  
Filled with wonder, delight and a sense of peace, there is a time in space 
that you never want to leave.
The longer you linger, the more you see.

Whenever I fly east to visit family, I always love to visit my 
old stomping grounds of Newport, Rhode Island.  
Even in the winter, there is much charm and in locations like this, 
I can feel the hands of the clock simply stand still
as long as I'm willing to stay.