Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.

Here are my drawings. They are all done in a small 2.5 x 3.5 notebook filled with black paper using a white gel pen. They aren’t fabulous, but they were a lot of fun.

Post from an erratic artist

I have so much to report from this week that I can’t think of a way to explain it in a single, themed post. So I searched for another word for “random” and came up with “erratic.” That fits!


In May I started fostering with Marion County Dog Control with the (internal) goal of fostering four times a year. My first foster was Toby, who was a nice dog who took a while to find his forever home.

With various summer commitments, workshops, and vacations, I hadn’t taken another foster, but two weeks ago (October 12) I picked up my second foster, a dog named Dawson.

I’m not sure about his name, but he has been a charming house companion. To the point I was seriously toying with the idea of keeping him. He and Key got along like a house on fire!


But just a few days into the foster, I was contacted that another foster family was interested in adopting him as a companion to their “failed foster”. We made arrangements to meet, the dogs seemed okay together, so we got the okay to give Dawson to the new foster family for a trial run, and I went home, more than a little sad.

All seemed well and Key does enjoy being an only dog (he’s a jealous soul). Then on Saturday when I was in a birding class I got a phone call. I pushed ignore, but when the class was over I checked my voice mail. It was Dawson’s new foster family telling me that things weren’t working out and they had taken him back to the shelter. Oh, and by the way, now he had doggie flue and a urinary track infection.

I was FLOORED! I had  made it clear that all they had to do was call me and I would come pick him up.  But apparently they just decided to ignore me, shelter procedures, and everything else and so Dawson was back in the shelter.

I called the shelter, but they couldn’t give him back that day. So I had to wait until this morning (Sunday) to pick him back up. And, good news, he’s as healthy as when I turned him over to the foster family.

My guess is that, in spite of my warnings about him needing potty training help, they didn’t take me seriously. And apparently, the gal tripped and broke her wrist during the week. So, it just got to be too much and she bailed.

I’m trying to be forgiving, but I’m having a little trouble. If she had just waited 30 minutes he would never have gone back to the shelter…

Dawson is back with me, though, and doing fine. I’m still on the fence about a permanent adoption, and in the meantime, he’s back on the web in case I’m not his destined home.

An Expensive English Muffin

I did an “art” post on the 19th, but I did not post about Key’s NW2 trial on Saturday.

To make it short, it was a repeat of the Grant’s Pass trial. A decoy box in containers (with an English muffin) destroyed our chances for a title, though Key’s work on everything else was GORGEOUS!

Well, at least we have the winter to work on it!

Amok Art (Part 2)

For whatever reason, I am really having a good time with the latest experiments based on the WSO convention workshops.

In the last few days I’ve put some finishing touches on these two paintings.

I started these paintings.

I’m actually very pleased with “Alone With Her Thoughts 3”. While it’s monochromatic, I’m very pleased with the lost and found edges and the general experimental feel. “Yellow-headed blackbird” was somewhat successful, but I’m not sure I started in the right place. I’m pondering that.

I think that word pondering is just right to depict my current art life.

On that same note, I ordered some photo prints of some reference photos for the Peggy Judy workshop I’ll be taking in a few weeks.

Time flies…

And I just saw that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is next month.  Gulp. Over committed much?

Healthy Steps – Week 41

My apologies for being late with this week’s post. I had the best intentions, but Wednesday was “dark” for my group, but beyond that, I spent the whole day training and had a long day. Thursday was another training day. Friday I did a WW check in, but didn’t have time to write. And Saturday was… well… a story.

So today I did my food prep and thought about the week ahead. There are no big things coming up, it’s business as usual. I can use that!

My goals for the week are:

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 1 Frappuccino per day (trying to go down!)

I feel ready to do this because I lost 4.6 pounds when I checked in on Friday. Score! Again, you don’t need to be perfect, just a little better. I haven’t really been enjoying that second Frap so much, and it just kills the day as far as having anything extra for tracking.

So… another week begins!


Experimenting amok playfully

My mom won’t like these. That’s what I tease her by saying whenever I do anything experimental or abstract. And I’m usually right. So, Mom… you’ve been warned.


As I said, I had a really good time at the WSO convention and an especially good time at the Margaret Stermer-Cox (Peggy) break out session.

To recap, I took this image…

Sketch 3: Working toward detail and mood.

And turned it into this value study…

And threatened to paint it!


One wasn’t enough, so I ended up with two versions. Both use marbled papers from the Liz Walker workshop I took a couple of years ago.

“That’s Not the Shape of My Heart” – 11″x16″ mixed media

“The Unconfidence of Pink” – 12″ x 16″ mixed media on board


I don’t think either are finished, particularly “Pink”.

There is a glare on both that makes the photos a little weird.

I learned a lot. Such as better planning is necessary. And surface matters. And being able to use black is fun!

I like them. I like where they are going.

So… Mom… sorry, there are going to be more!

Healthy Steps – Week 40

I just posted Week 39 yesterday, but I’m trying to get more on track. I need it. Another 2 pounds up.

But I’m on a normal schedule now with a  fridge full of prepared food and a willingness to work toward my goals for the upcoming week (just like I said yesterday).

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 2 Frappuccinos per day

And now… to keep going!

Why I don’t buy mass-market prints (and you shouldn’t either)

A couple of week ago two stories hit my inbox nearly simultaneously. They made me mad. And I decided to share my anger to (hopefully) educate my non-artist friends. So, yes, this is me on a soapbox. It’s a sermon.

And I’m not sorry.

Ripping Off Bev Jozwiak

The first incident was a Facebook posting by Bev Jozwiak, and inspired local painter from whom I have taken workshops.

This is my painting selling on ***.com without my permission. Get so sick of the rip offs. ~ Bev Jozwiak

For my non-artist friends, what Bev is saying is that someone took a picture of her work and/or stole an image from the internet, cleaned it up, and is now selling it for cheap at one of the big online print companies.

I’ve heard stories about this over the years. Placing a copyright on the image does no good because there is software that can take it off in less time than it took to put it on.

Some artists swear by only putting up low resolution images. Again, this can work, but software is so good that it can compensate for that. Additionally, some work (like Bev’s) is “impressionistic” so a little fuzziness just adds to the effect.

Further complicating the issue, not all countries have the same copyright laws as the United States.

The best the artist can do is to contact the “store” and complain. Most times, they will take down the image or at least move it to a place on their site where it will attract less attention for a while.

But the moral of the story is the artist is out of pocket. Not only for the image that was stolen, but for the potential art space. The buyer of the image clearly wanted something for that space and now it will not be an original.

The disputes of Charlie Mackesy

A few weeks ago I “liked” a new artist, Charlie Mackesy. I was drawn to his “Boy and Horse” series, a series which is brilliant in its simplicity.

A few days after Bev Jozwiak posted, a series of posts on Charlie Mackesy’s page indicated he was having a dispute with a company that he felt was ripping off his work.

While Mr. Mackesy has not been overly forthcoming about the details of the dispute, as I understand it, the company took his images and either used Photoshop to change them slightly or hired an artist to redraw them. Then they added words and printed the result on T-shirts and other merchandise.

And all Mr. Mackesy can do is sue. He probably won’t win. A simple line drawing is not hard to copy and the copyright laws indicate that if an image is changed a mere 10%, it is not copying.

So what should you do?

As Americans, all of us are familiar with the idea of using our buying power to effect change. It’s about the most American system we have.

As art consumers, I would like to implore you to start looking at what you are buying and insisting on using those dollars to move our system to support artists.

Don’t trust those websites! Only purchase directly from artists. Don’t know an artist… I can help you out! Or use Google to find a local art group. If a gallery seems too scary, consider an open studio sale or co-op gallery. A sidewalk artist. A plein air competition. I guarantee that any of these places are someplace you can find an artist who would be THRILLED to sell a painting.

Don’t have  the budget for “art”! You’d be surprised. Many artists have older pieces that they might sell at a discount or “bin” work that has a “flaw” (you’ll never see it) that prevented them from framing it up for a show or gallery. These pieces are a WONDERFUL addition to a space. And don’t discount some of the HGTV options such as framing up family photos or your child’s artwork. These options are MUCH better than ripping off an artist.

Finally, reconsider purchasing “prints” in all their forms. T-shirts. Plaques,  Posters. All of these are easy ways that an artist can have an image taken from them. If you want to purchase a print, get it directly from the artist.

No one knows better than an artist there is no free lunch. But consider your part in the cycle before you grab that candy bar!

Healthy Steps – Week 39

It’s Tuesday, one day before I weight in for Week 40. That should tell you about how I did last week. I gained 4.6 pounds. This was NOT a shocking result. I had the WSO show followed by two days of travel where the most nutritious thing I ate was a box of cheetos.

Unfortunately, on Thursday I hit the road again and that was followed by a three-day weekend where there was some travel, some volunteering, and some chores.

But at the end, I had fridge full of prepared food and a willingness to work toward my goals for the upcoming week.

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 2 Frappuccinos per day

I’m proud to say I have done ALL of these things for Monday and Tuesday of this week, so here’s hoping that tomorrow’s weight in is just “even”. But whatever it is, I’ll survive and keep going.

My total weight loss is 29.4 pounds. That’s great, no matter what happens. And if I keep plugging away, that number will start increasing again.

As I’ve said before, I don’t have to be perfect in this journey. I just have to keep going.

My peeps ask, “What color did you get?” with deep and sincere interest

This weekend was the Fall Convention of the Watercolor Society of Oregon. I was really lucky because it was in Salem (where I live) so it was super easy. I was also able to offer accommodations to my friend, Sandra Pearce, and when she won third place (!!!!) at the show, I think some of her prestige rubbed off on me.

Sandra and I went to the juror meet and greet on Friday night, then to dinner where we saw lots of painting possibilities (that’s what happens when artists get together…)

Saturday morning, Sandra went to teach a plein air class at Minto Brown, and I started the first of my four classes of the day.

Of course, I perused the vendors first and spend FAR too much on two TOTALLY necessary brushes, a cradle board, more matte medium, and lots of (free?) swag.

Class #1: Color Confidential

Ruth Armitage and Beth Verhayden gave a talk on use of color in painting, focusing on the emotional impacts of color choice. It was really good and gave me a lot to think about. As a “getting started” excercise they asked for volunteers to play a “Jeapordy”-like game on color. I volunteered and walked away with a tube of Quinacridone Coral by Daniel Smith. Score!

Class #2: Paint and Collage like Picasso

Jean Lea, a fellow Salem artist, lead this interactive session. Class participants had been told to bring a variety of items and use them to experiment.

I apparently didn’t read the instructions well, so I had just brought my sketchbook, pencils, eraser, and pens. I decided to play anyway, stealing some paint from a neighbor to finish the experiment.

I flipped through my sketchbook and saw this sketch from the spring convention.

Sketch 3: Working toward detail and mood.

And so, by the end of the class, I had created this!

And I had taken this little doodle…

Marsh wren

… to this.

I might even paint it someday.

Juror Critique

Next I went to the juror critique. Our juror for the show is highly respected painter Robbie Laird. I would have liked to take her workshop, “DISCOVER THE ABSTRACT NATURE OF NATURE” but I have this pesky job.

I don’t believe in submitting images for critique that you are “finished” with; I like to submit images and I haven’t completely signed off on. This time I got down to the submission wire and realized I didn’t have anything special to submit, so I send in this little experimental piece.

I had briefly spoken to Ms. Laird on Friday at the meet and greet and she had asked me if I was putting something in the critique. When I told her yes, she asked me (something like), “Do you really want to hear my thoughts or are you just wanting to show off?” I told her with a laugh that I had submitted an experiment that I was stuck on and I would like to hear her thoughts on getting unstuck.

Ms. Laird had each submitter (not just me) stand up and explain what we were hoping to get out of the critique. She had a very pleasant way of tactfully saying something interesting about each piece. When it was my turn she told me that she was enjoying my experiment, really liked the area around the head, but that the elbow was too stark. Fair enough. She said a little more, but the moral of the story was to keep going!

At the beginning of the critique, Ms. Laird imparted this quote from artist Mary Whyte.

Mary tells her students that they need three things to become accomplished artists:

  1. Something to say

  2. The ability to say it

  3. The courage to do it


I had my marching orders! I’ll go back and do some more and see if I can resolve this piece.


The class I had REALLY been looking forward to, however, was the last of the day. I had organized all the break out sessions and I had talked Margaret Stermer-Cox (Peggy) into teaching a class entitled, “Can You Simplify?” If you’ve seen Peggy’s stuff, you’ll see why I was so excited; it’s GORGEOUS and full of big shapes.

Peggy might not be the most natural teacher, but she has a lot of artistic training and knows her art history. She lead us through a layout exercise.

Sorry my picture is blurry; this time it wasn’t intentional

Then we added a figure to it. I used the same figure study as earlier in the day and came up with this.

I’m really going to try to paint this!

Having spent all my money and with my brain on fire, I headed home. I decided a few conventions ago that I just don’t like going to the awards dinner, and even though I wanted to support Sandra (3rd place!!!). my sanity won.

Sunday – Juror’s Lecture

Sunday is always the WSO business meeting followed by the juror’s lecture. The business meeting was pretty standard fare. The lecture was good, a bit of a preview of the workshop. I’m going to try a few of the things she demonstrated. It looked like fun.

So, another WSO convention in the books. I’m tired and my mind is busy. If only I didn’t have to work tomorrow, I’m sure I could get lots of painting done!

One last note

One of the things I  like most of the conventions is that when you go, you get to talk to about 200 people who are just as excited about geeky painting stuff as you are. If someone says they bought a color, everyone else wants to know which one. You can talk about your struggles, your failure, and your successes and the other artists nod knowingly.

Everyone needs that a couple times a year.

Healthy Steps – Week 38

Yeah! I didn’t gain this week!

Yeah! I did all my goals from last week!

Yeah! I’m going to have the same goals this week!

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 2 Frappuccinos per day

7 random items for a Sunday post

1. I had guests this weekend. This is my excuse for no art.

2. I am tired tonight. That is my excuse for this post.

3. The last few weeks have had some fun art things. My painting, “Flammagenitus Clouds” (unfinished version shown below) got The Art Department Award at the Paint the Town event. $25 for art supplies!

unfinished – “Flammagenitus Clouds”

4. My painting, Arminda’s Poppies, got into the Waterworks Unplugged (NWWS 2018 Waterworks Members Exhibition) exhibition.

5. Next weekend is the Watercolor Society of Oregon Fall Convention here in Salem. My painting did not get in, but I’m still excited to go for two reasons (that are connected). I was in charge of scheduling all the classes and I think it’s an awesome line up. I’m excited about attending!

Second, my friend, Sandra Pearce, is coming to stay for the weekend so she can attend the convention too. Let me pause here to brag on her! She participated in the Washington County Plein Air event this weekend and took home “Best in Show”, “Best Nocturne” and the “red dot” (sold a painting.) Congrats, Sandra! Drop the mic, indeed!

6. I’m going to try to participate in Inktober. I’ve prepped my sketch pad. Wish my luck!

7.  It’s the end of the day. For the first time in weeks I am fully prepped for the week with food in the fridge, money in the bank, and a “clean” house. I feel really on top of things.

Let’s see what disaster happens…

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