Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Time in - Time Out

This painting is untitled because I couldn't find a lot to be pleased with.
Too busy, too sloppy, not enough good composition on the truck 
(which would have been better had I spent more time drawing), 
not enough definition on the back tire, the list goes on.
Sometimes that just happens. 
But, the more I look at it, I think it's not SO bad, just not
one of my better efforts. 
Maybe it will even get a title!

oil on panel

Now, this one I like. 
I want to be in this spot, having tea with my daughters.

oil on panel

Now, this one I love.
Sometimes - it may seem like magic - I end up with a wonderful painting.
This one I barely sketched and the colors just flew.
This is a New Mexico orchard spring.
I probably couldn't duplicate it again if I tried.

oil on panel

I have NEVER done a panel painting this large.
Canvas yes, panel no.
I had to order these large panels from Raymar, their products are so great.
  Panels this large have to be special ordered.
I got mine from Raymar - and I love them.
I was NOT however, happy with the initial outcome of this piece.
It looked too boring - something wasn't right.
I went to bed and thought about it all night.

When I got up, I realized what was wrong.
It needed "fracturing."
This is a painting technique taught by my artist friend Julie Ford Oliver.
So I got to work early in the morning with a nifty little tool
 I made as per Julie's instructions.

It involves a window squeegie and a box cutter holder.
Let's just say that I "fractured" that painting GOOD.

Now, it is full of life and movement and is actually much warmer in person.

On another note - today I exercised, went to a meeting, 
and my daughter and granddaughter came over.
My granddaughter took a two and a half hour nap on my chest 
and let me tell you - nothing is better!

She is so fun! 
A toddler but still very much a baby.

So, after they left, I went out and played with the dogs,
who have been needing my attention.

We took a walk around the yard and I noticed some things:

 This chair is just waiting for me to sit and relax in it

 This walkway is just waiting for a studio tour so it can have lots of foot traffic

 This rose is about ready to burst into bloom

 This birdhouse needs a pole to get it up off the bench.
What bird wants to live in a house on a bench?

 This bee is really enjoying these flowers.
Can someone tell me the name of this bush?
It is red at the top (where the sun reaches it) and seems like a shrub.
It has these pretty white flowers every spring.

 Believe it or not, this is a nectarine.
They may not look pretty, but I had my first harvest last year,
and they are incredibly sweet.

 My doggies are happy that I'm way out by the end of the yard.
They love to eat the grass out here and dig in the dirt.
And bark at passing dogs.
And people walking.
And horses. And four wheelers.

 This is a budding cherry.
I hope we have a lot this year, the tree is covered in spent blooms.

 Here's Bella.
She loves her shadow.

 I think this is beautiful.
It's a spent dandelion flower.

I know a lot of people think of dandelions as weeds.
I don't agree.
We need them for bees.
They make great tea.
Let's keep the dandelions!

 These little seed heads are toys.
Blow on them and they fly all over the world.

Well, maybe we don't need THAT many dandelions.

So, like my "Grandma Gardener" says,
"Spend time in the studio and then get your butt outside and enjoy life."
Granny's got attitude - sorry.

Oh, and I also have a new post on my health blog:
Click HERE to visit that site.

Friday, April 17, 2015

big changes....


Those of you who know me well know that I have 
been going through some changes.
I have had a painting block for a while now,
just going through the motions to get things done.

My best collector and personal friend Tom 
passed away unexpectedly last year.
My art buddy, day-trip traveling partner Goldie
moved to Atlanta to be with her daughter.

These two people were my biggest supporters and
I'm not gonna lie - I felt lost without them.

How was I going to get rid of this ineria
and get back into my love of making art?

After much soul searching and time spent sitting and
staring off into space,
I came to the conclusion that my art life needed
to be shaken up a bit. No, A LOT.
It was either make a drastic change or stop working.

So - and this is a big one
I have left the gallery that I have been with
for the last 13 years.

This gallery gave me my first start in painting
and helped me learn the ropes in doing my 
first group show, my first local big art show, my first solo show.
They have always been so supportive and
I wouldn't be where I am without them.
Thank you, Weems Galleries.
Whew, scary move for sure.

 So now I am floating....
After years of nonstop shows and deadlines, what do I do?

The first thing I did was take a few days off, 
sit down, and think about where I wanted my career to be in five years.

The second thing I did was go to Santa Fe and watch a demo 
of an artist whose work I liked.

Those of you who know me know that I don't "do" the workshop thing.
i always thought taking a workshop would steer me away from my own style.
But this was more like a talk and discussion about his techniques and materials.
The third thing I did was buy some palette knives.

I then watched a few youtube videos and went through 
my books on painting with a knife.
I checked in with (and joined) palette knife groups on facebook.

Then I just jumped in and created my first palette knife work.
Not gonna lie, it was way too thick.
Painting with a knife is HARD.
I gave the painting to my daughter (who loved it!)

But I kept at it and am now loving the knife.

Here is my second attempt:

oil on panel

I love this painting, so I'm thinking, 
maybe I am onto something here.

My third attempt:

oil on panel

It felt kind of strange, not using a brush.
The knife does not go where I want it to go!
I bought better knives and a few spatula-type brushes and that helped.

Then - I was talking to one of my artist friends one day and she
mentioned that she was participating in an invitational
GARDEN SHOW at Sumner and Dene gallery in June.

I thought cool, that might be fun, so I called the gallery and 
they invited me to participate.
I accepted and was excited for the first time in a long time.
Now, I am busy creating a series of paintings
that are garden related.
No pressure, I can do one or twenty one.

Another of my new goals was to make a plan to
go out on location all this spring and summer and paint BIG.
I don't know if I will use knives or brushes but the
main goal is to get out of my comfort zone of small paintings and 
go for size out in the beautiful landscape- 16x20 through 30x40, to start.
I have done HUGE paintings in the past, but all were created in the studio.
It's hard enough to paint en plein air - but to paint BIG in plein air?

I am still trying to figure out the actual set-up to do that.

So anyway, I hope you will bear with me, join me on this new venture.
and check out the GARDEN SHOW this June at Sumner and Dene.
Here are the other paintings so far:


"DUET" 12x16" oil

"HIDDEN GARDEN 11x14 oil 

"POPPY GARDEN" 8x10" oil

"PRAIRIE GARDEN" 14x11" oil

"SPLENDID" V" 12x9" oil

"SUNBATHING" 10x8" oil

 "HIDDEN GARDEN" 8x10" oil

"WILD GARDEN" 12x9" oil

Thank you all for supporting me
every time I go through some kind of art breakthough.
Life is good!

Saturday, April 11, 2015


oil on panel

I don't know if you've noticed, but I am working my way up in size.
I started with 8x8s and this is a 12x9.
I can't imaging using a knife with a 30x30 or 48x48!

My painting life has become exciting again.
For a long time (almost a whole year),
I lost my painting motivation and mojo.

It took learning a new skill, 
leaving a gallery that I had been with almost 14 years
(that takes a whole lot of courage),
and choosing a different path for myself.
I almost feel like I had to reinvent myself to go on.

So, I am learning the palette knife.
I've joined a couple of palette knife groups on facebook.
I've gone through and read my old books on knife painting.
I've checked out the paintings of artists whose work I admire.
I am even attending a palette knife painter's demo and
I have never done anything like that before!

I am also back on a quest to lose weight so my knees aren't so painful.
So I can walk farther and hike a little to get to those
scenes that I can't reach right now.

I have signed up for what feels like a million paint outs to places like:
Ghost Ranch
Los Poblanos
Bosque del Apache
Sante Fe and Canyon Road
Valle Caldera
Pilar and the Rio Grande

These are just a few of the cool locations!
I will also be painting at homes during the 
Corrales Garden Tour coming up in June.

I am also participating in an invitational Garden Show 
in Albuquerque coming up this summer.

So if you see me out in the landscape
with a knife in my hand,
looking a little lost - 
come on over and say hello.
Maybe we can sit in our chairs, enjoy a snack, 
and take in the lovely view of my painting location..... 
and I think my old buddy Tom would be proud
that I have taken on this new and exciting direction.

Friday, April 10, 2015


oil on panel

I gotta tell you, I am LOVING the palette knife.
I truly feel like it's not work (even though I still have a lot to learn about the knife).

I am still working small, but getting ready to move to larger sizes.
I already have 10 9x12 panels toned and ready to go.

It's spring - the flowers buds are out and getting green and life is good.

Please click on the image to enlarge and get a better look at the texture.