A Generous Plenty

Last evening I went to my painting class (on my regular Tuesday I went out to take a groundwork class for Sound Equine Options) and discovered that I am very close to finishing a generous plenty of paintings.

This is a good thing because the WSO deadline (yes, I’ve mentioned this before) is coming up swiftly.

7 paintings at or very near completion... of course the one in the front is just a start

7 paintings at or very near completion… of course the one in the front is just a start

A few weeks ago I remember thinking I had too many paintings on the go and worried I wouldn’t get anything done by the deadline.

But last night, looking down the list of finished paintings, I felt a different worry. I’m going to have to start something new!

This weekend I will take some serious photos and put those up. The dolphin painting (“Eye Contact”) I’ll frame for myself. I think the yoga painting (“Nameste”) I think I’ll give to my yoga teacher as a present (it’s based on a photo I took of her at the end of a class).

Newest finish: "Nameste"

Newest finish: “Nameste”

I was so close to finishing, actually, I actually “started” on a painting from my ice starts I made in December.

With this much progress in the year, I’m hopeful it will be a successful year as well.


Last weekend I went to a board meeting at the lovely home of LaVonne Tarbox-Crone. I like LaVonne’s painting a lot and so I was really looking forward to seeing her home.

First, of course, I had to run and see LaVonne’s studio. It was lovely; right off the kitchen and in the main living area. She had carefully organized reference materials and GREAT light. I wished I could start painting.


LaVonne’s painting set up is right off her kitchen in the main part of the house! Light bright and airy, surrounded by reference photos. I’d paint too!

LaVonne's drafting table and painting set-up

LaVonne’s drafting table and painting set-up

But my favorite part of visiting an artist’s home is seeing what kind of art they choose to be surrounded by.

LaVonne impressed me; she had a lot of her own art on her walls! That’s something that I can’t say for myself. When I look at my art, all I see are flaws. I’m rarely satisfied.

There is a lesson to be learned there. I’m going think about hanging some of my pieces. Maybe in the process I’ll learn to be happier with my art.

Of course… first I’ll have to find the room. My walls are already covered with other art.


I’ve become the crazy lady on the bus

It’s the middle of January. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s foggy. But spring will arrive. I know this because as I was riding home on the bus there was actually a little light.

In fact, there was enough light that for a few minutes there was a very pretty, soft pastel sunset. By the time I sorted out how to use my Kindle to take a picture, the pastels had faded a little… but you get the idea.

January 17, 2014 - Looking at the Willamette in Milwaukie at dusk

January 17, 2014 – Looking at the Willamette in Milwaukie at dusk

I’m sure everyone wondered if I was crazy because I tried to take the picture a little earlier on the ride, but I was on the wrong side of the bus and ended up with just blurry photos of the other passengers (and who cares about them…) instead of the lovely sky. Finally in Milwaukie we got to a spot where I put the Kindle out the window and snapped this shot at dusk.

A few minutes earlier, when thing was a little more pastel and the fog a little more prominent, I was reminded of a watercolor of Prince Charles that I have always liked. I was unable to find the exact one (it was a very simple lake picture that brilliantly does the fading of hills). But it got me looking at his watercolors: http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/focus/watercolours

He’s not my favorite painter (too traditional) but he certainly does have talent. Looking at this collection, I’m reminded that painting is very much about the time you give it.


Decisions, decisions….

Tonight was my weekly painting class at Anji’s. Last week we did four background techniques and this week our challenge was to turn at least one of them into a complete painting.

As usual, I overachieved a little and went to work on all four. None of them are going to make it into great pieces, but I did work out a few ideas…

Between working on these, I worked on finishing some pieces in progress. The WSO show deadline is coming up and I need to decide what to enter. And to do that, I need to FINISH some paintings.

Luckily, the last six months have been productive. However, that still doesn’t make the decision easier.

I experimented with some abstracts:

"Ripples" - 2013

“Ripples” – 2013

"Feeling Mody" - 2014

“Feeling Moody” – 2014 (unfinished version)

I’ve experimented with yupo:

"Eye to eye" - 2014 (unfinished version)

“Eye to eye” – 2014 (unfinished version)

I’ve painted some more horses:

"Distaff Divas" - 2014

“Distaff Divas” – 2014

"Trackside Discussion I" - 2014 (unfinished version)

“Trackside Discussion I” – 2014 (unfinished version)

And I won’t even show you the other pieces in progress, that didn’t work, or that I’m still thinking about.

So with all this work, you’d think I could make a decision… right?


With the holidays and a new year, I always find myself thinking about milestones: what has happened in the last year? What will I remember? What have I already forgotten as significant? Where do I think I’m going?

Possibly coincidentally, one of the interesting things about putting up a website is the notation of the passage of time. As I’m going back and trying to find significant art milestones and achievements, separating old art pieces into categories, and generally tidying up what I want to show the world, it keeps hitting me far I’ve come.

In November I went to the Audobahn Society of Portland’s Wild Art Festival, which is probably my favorite event of the year. Each year for the last few years I have submitted a piece to their 6×6 art project. If pressed, I would have said I had done this for two or three years. But when I was at the event I saw a poster from their 2008 event and I realized I’ve been submitting for 6 years. As I looked at my earliest pieces (sorry, I didn’t take a picture and I couldn’t find on on the internet) it struck me again how far I’ve come.

In 2009 I submitted a painting of a hummingbird and did not attached it to the provided canvas. I remember coming by on Sunday and looking at its lonely, forlorn self sitting alongside all the other 1″ thick canvases. It was a big step on my learning curve: always see how everyone else is submitting their stuff.

In 2010 I submitted a watercolor of a pelican. This year it was adhered to the canvas.

In 2011 I submitted a painting of a song sparrow. Adhered to the canvas.

In 2012 I submitted an acrylic (my first) of a fox sparrow.

Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow (acrylic)

And this year I submitted a watercolor pencil piece (my first) of a hummingbird.

2013 Hummingbird (watercolor pencils)

2013 Hummingbird (watercolor pencils)

I wish I had been able to find a record of all my paintings in this series because I was able to trace my progress in them. Each year I saw better lights and darks or painting application or design.

When putting up this site, I saw the same sort of progress as I put up series of horses or other subjects that I come back to repeatedly.

Today I’ll announce to my friends that this website is up. I hope they’ll enjoy looking through my past as much as I’ve enjoyed organizing it.

I hope they’ll continue with me as I keep painting.

Bright Day

On this bright but cold day, the birds were definitely out in force at Canemah.

Fluffed up song sparrow

Fluffed up song sparrow

At one point along our walk I simply stood and marveled at the little flocks of sparrows, towhees, junos, kinglets, and chickadees that fluttered near the path. Their noise provided a perfect soundtrack to the day.

Ferns and sunlight

Ferns and sunlight

Pattern and Light

Today (written 1/1/2014) as we were walking through a foggy Canemah park, it was unusually quiet. The birds, which provide most of the interest this time of year, had obviously found somewhere warm and try to hole up.

As we walked, I got to thinking about light and dark. In the Pacific Northwest we are blessed with a lot of very soft light. Unlike in Arizona or Greece, where the light provides true whites, in Oregon we have a lot of grey. Yet when I look at this seed pod, I am fascinated.

Blackberry seedpod up close

Blackberry seedpod up close

That got me thinking about pattern. I’m drawn to it, but don’t often use it to its fullest extent in my paintings.

Maybe I should work on this in 2014.

Winter in Canemah

Today (written Sunday, 12/29/13), in between dropping things off at the gallery and battling with this website, I took Finn for a walk in Canemah. It’s always amazing to me that this little stretch of “wilderness” is right here in the city. It’s not really a park, more like habitat; in fact, Canemah contains a variety of Northwest habitats: oak savannahs, Douglas Fir stands, madrona woods, and wetlands.

Almost any time of year a hike provides tons of “salient detail” as an artist friend of mine once said. In addition to the natural areas, there is an old pioneer cemetary and before that, the terrain has been shaped by years of cultivation by Native Americans. In the spring the camas coats the terrain and summer provides stretches of fresh berries, igniting my imagination about foraging off the land.

This time of year the landscape is more barren than usual, but walking through it is still an adventure. The birds challenge with their calls, a few early chorus frogs warm up their vocals, the trees bend and creek a greeting.

Dead tree bark at Canemah, 12/29/2013

Dead tree bark at Canemah, 12/29/2013

Textures are more apparent than in the spring. Nothing here is smooth; everything is dry or crinkly, twisted or broken. But that doesn’t make it less beautiful. Today a new tree had come down and its bark and moss were starting to dry out. The color is amazing, pale yet distinct.

Tree bark with moss, 12/29/2013

Tree bark with moss, 12/29/2013

A little further I saw a madrona leaf that had clearly had an interaction with something, but I don’t know if that’s a food trail or a path.

Madrona leaf with trail, 12/29/2013

Madrona leaf with trail, 12/29/2013

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