August 17, 2013


France was a symphony of sights, sounds and color, including...

 pink poppies

 inviting tables

 picnics by the river

 kitties guarding the shop's table linens

 ancient villages built into cliffs

 fragrant lavender fields
 centuries old buildings with moss covered roofs

 and flowers everywhere!

Many thanks to my friend; artist and author extraordinaire, 
for organizing this adventure. 
(To see more photos click on her name above!)  

July 26, 2013

summer breeze

~ For all those texts and emails asking "Where ARE you?"...
It has been a delightfully blessed summer.  Catching up, 
May was all about welcoming a new little philosopher into the family ~

~ And then there was charming Charleston, South Carolina where I studied with Calvin Liang ~
in a workshop offered by Dee Beard Dean's wonderful Galerie On Broad
Calvin is a master painter, an excellent instructor and and exceedingly nice guy. 

painting with Calvin at Shem Creek

~ Then it was back to KY to paint the Darley horse farms! ~
The painting below has been on display at Lexington's Headley Whitney Museum 
and will be part of the Freedom Fest events this weekend in Versailles: 

11 x 14, oil on canvas

~ And then there was France!
but that's for the next post...

"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once."
Woody Allen

May 9, 2013

testing the water

6 x 8, oil on canvas

"I was sitting on the seashore, half listening to a friend arguing about something which merely bored me. Unconsciously to myself, I looked at a film of sand I had picked up on my hand, when I suddenly saw the exquisite beauty of every little grain of it; instead of being dull, I saw that each particle was made up on a perfect geometrical pattern, with sharp angles, from each of which a brilliant shaft of light was reflected, while each tiny crystal shone like a rainbow...the rays crossed and recrossed, making exquisite patterns of such beauty that they left me breathless...Then suddenly, my consciousness was lighted up from within and I saw in a vivid way how the whole universe was made up of particles of material which, no matter how dull and lifeless they might seem, were nevertheless filled with this intense and vital beauty. For a second or two the whole world appeared as a blaze of glory. When it died down, it left me with something I have never forgotten and which constantly reminds me of the beauty locked up in every minute speck of material around us."
Aldous Huxley

May 3, 2013

cherries on top

6 x 10, oil on linen

"In all things of nature, 
there is something of the marvelous."

April 29, 2013

peach kiss

24 x 30, oil on canvas

"Weeds are flowers too
once you get to know them."

April 27, 2013


 18 x 24, oil on linen
My assignment for the painting above was to use a smaller study (below) that was painted on location as my main source of reference, while eliminating unnecessary details like the architectural shape. 
Fun stuff. 
6 x 8

Many thanks to the Indiana Plein Air Painters, who hosted master artists
 in a series of weeklong events including workshops, a panel discussion,
 tour of George and Peggy Rapp's art collection, a paint out and gallery exhibit!
All the while being surrounded by Spring's new wardrobe...

Kenn Backhaus demo

And then it was time to dash down to Tennessee and congratulate all the WPSE award winners (see full list here) -  As you can see, it was well attended. Many thanks to Michelle and Helli at the Imagine Gallery for making it an outstanding weekend of events! 

April 17, 2013

WPSE Exhibit opens this weekend!

 I'm pleased to announce that one of my paintings was juried into 
an upcoming exhibit for the

 Lori Putman, whose painting is shown below, is serving as the show's judge, and will offer  a demo and lecture as part of the weekend festivities. Located only a few minutes south of Nashville at Franklin's Imagine Gallery, the show will continue through May 20th. (details below)

Congratulations to all participants represented by WPSE, including fellow artists from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia!  

Hope to see you there, or
you may view the show online by clicking here.

April 9, 2013

Yours Truly

24 x 30, oil on linen

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God
who is sending a love letter to the world."
Mother Teresa

April 6, 2013

Spring's Eternal Bouquet

10x10, oil on canvas
Tired of roses yet?  I hope not, because I'm hopelessly smitten by the challenge of painting their subtle value changes, slight color differences, and variety of shapes and personalities that makes each one uniquely beautiful. The art of learning to really SEE. All good stuff. 

"Life stands before me 
like an eternal spring
 with new and brilliant clothes." 
Carl Friedrich Gauss

April 2, 2013

the days

10x10, oil on canvas

"They are not long, the days of wine and roses.
Out of a misty dream, 
our path emerges for a while, 
then closes,
within a dream."
Ernest Dowson

March 30, 2013

Van Gogh's color of the sun

8 x 8, oil on canvas
Today is the 160th anniversary of Van Gogh's birthday - 
What day could be more perfect for color intensity, vibrancy, and yellow chi?

"How lovely yellow is.
It stands for the sun."
Vincent Van Gogh

March 26, 2013

A Spring Tea

10 x 10 , oil on canvas
My calendar has spring written all over it, 
and yet outside my window is a swirling snow globe! 
Fabulously fickle March.
Perfect for pale, soft colors
and a cup of tea.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis 
on which the world earth revolves-
without rushing toward the future."
Thich Nat Hahn

March 23, 2013


~Just wanted to share a couple of little discoveries. A few months ago I found these KOI BRUSH pens for value sketching.  OH MY. They are the coolest ever, do not bleed through regular sketchbook paper like every other pen I have tried, and are less messy than charcoal or pencil. I was immediately  hooked.

(birthday girl)
~So that discovery led me to seek out their pocket field study sets in watercolor. Below you can see how small they are (pocket or purse size, for sure) but my favorite feature is the brush-pen that holds water - surprisingly enough water to complete the three studies below with plenty of water to spare!  Admittedly it has been years since I played with watercolor, so this is probably old news to most - but I wanted to share in case anyone else is looking. They may just be the perfect exercise in zen for children of all ages! And perfect for traveling light! 

~And...years ago when I painted in watercolor,  I studied with artist Judi Betts (Click on her name to see her work and read an interview) who approaches life as one wonderful discovery after another, seeing creative possibility in all situations. I thought of her when I bought the little watercolor set because she keeps The Most Inspiring Sketchbooks that are beautifully rendered diaries of her thoughts, her day, her travels, even her dinner! In fact her creative spirit and sketchbooks were my original inspiration to start collecting quotes. The personification of joy, she is an excellent teacher who generously shares her energy and spirit. 

~And below are a few watercolor sketches inspired by beloved family photos (my latest obsession).

"A photograph to me is always a reminder of how the person was on a certain day
 in that certain light fixed. 
When I look at a watercolor of that same person, it seems to me alive, 
more open than a photograph."
Francesco Clemente

March 19, 2013

push pull

9 x 12, oil on canvas

Ever "coax" spring branches? I think bare limbs in old jars are lovely just as they are, but if you choose to invite early budding, here is how it is done: Cut stems 12-24 inches in length (depending on the height of your container) cutting at an angle. Then split the ends (or slightly crush with a hammer) to allow for more water intake. Place them in a solution of warm water, floral preservative (or lemon lime soda) and a spritz of bleach (to kill the bacteria). They should be placed in a room with minimal indirect light until the blooms start to appear. Easiest to coax where I live are forsythia, flowering quince, redbuds and any flowering trees like cherry, apple and pear or tulip tree. The buds started appearing after only a few days!

"The artist is the confidant of nature,
flowers carry on dialogues with him 
through the graceful bending of their stems 
and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. 
Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him."
Auguste Rodin

March 16, 2013

fine, thanks, anjou?

6x12, oil on canvas

"She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead."
A.A. Milne

March 12, 2013

green day

9x12, oil on linen

"The world is full of magical things
waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
W.B. Yeats

March 8, 2013

slivers of white

6 x 8, oil on canvas

"How could I put everything down on paper?
It seemed impossible.
No matter what, the majority of life would be left out of this story,
this sliver of a version of the life I'd known."
Dave Eggers

March 3, 2013

beet red

6 x 12, oil on linen

"Most of our childhood is stored not in photos, 
but in certain biscuits,
lights of day,
textures of carpet..."
Alain de Botton

February 28, 2013

peachy keen

10 x 10, oil on linen

"De-cluttering isn't just simplifying your life.
It's having a vision, setting new priorities
and using those notions to get rid of the obstacles."
Peter Walsh

February 25, 2013


Continuing my quest to simplify subjects and pare detail, I found this Robert Genn post to be an inspiring reminder of mindful intention. Making a list of what we seek is necessary because:
"a list is the unseen backbone of passion. 
A list gives the work the appearance of effortless creativity".  

 6 x 6, oil on linen
And keeping with that theme, last week I had the honor of studying with Atlanta artist Nancy Franke, Emphasizing the critical importance of regular drawing practice, our focus centered on avoiding unnecessary detail and capturing the essence or spirit of the subject - all of which had me pondering why learning to simplify can seem so darned complicated...

"Painting is shape, planes and form. 
The right color, the right shape in the right place. 
The purpose of drawing as a means to improve your painting
 is not to create outlines to be filled with color;
 that is not painting. 
The purpose of drawing well is to give you the freedom
 to be intuitive and spontaneous as you slash the paint. 
A belabored drawing, a delineated map of your subject locks you in 
but if drawing skills are so ingrained 
you need not worry about going out of the lines
 or losing your place."
Kevin Macpherson

February 20, 2013

winter's song

4 x 11, oil on linen

thinking out of the box (rectangle and circle) today,
inspired by winter's simple shapes
and soft light

"Nature is what we know 
yet have not art to say.
So impotent is our wisdom
to her simplicity"
Emily Dickinson

February 18, 2013

ocean child

10 x 10 oil on canvas
The ginkgo tree has been regarded for centuries as a symbol of hope, resilience and longevity because the trees have been known to thrive for as long as 2000 years. I have one in my back yard that proudly wears a beautiful shade of yellow all summer and fall. Then one day in November all the leaves suddenly drop to the ground - on the same day! It is a curious act of nature that creates a brilliant carpet of light and abstract art.

"I thought of art as a verb, rather than a noun.

Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90. 
Time is a concept that humans created.

Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance."

Yoko Ono (who celebrates the numbers eight and zero today)

February 13, 2013

all you need is...

9 x 12, oil on linen

Some days are made for bright colors -
others ask for subtle neutrals.
And still others demand painting
on the "wrong" side of the canvas.
Just because.
Must be a February sort of thing?

"Love is old,
love is new.
Love is all,
love is you."

John Lennon 

February 6, 2013

hitherto haiku

I used to hate, loathe and despise winter (plus I didn't like it very much). And although I am still not a fan of the cold, I have grown to greatly appreciate the zen landscapes, subtle pastels and Earth at rest - so much so that it inspired me to celebrate another form of "minimal": haiku writing.

serene morning walk 
a blissful tranquility
the still of winter.

views unencumbered 
soft earth-tones in tranquil bliss 
quiet colors that soothe. 

sparse, unburdened trees 
seamless lines and simple shapes 
order and balance.

a silent repose
clamoring! a piercing trill
and crows laugh raucously.


January 28, 2013

edges and angles

6 x 8, oil on canvas

Nate Berkus has authored a new book called "The Things That Matter". He offers exceptional advice on connecting our past with our present as we edit our surroundings. Never merely offering decorating advice; instead he asks his clients to consider what colors, shapes, objects hold personal meaning. Nate's inspiring words and beautiful photographs encourage us to surround ourselves with colors, shapes, textures and objects that feed our soul; because our homes "tell our story, lift us up, and anchor our lives"...

"The truth is, things matter.
They have to.
They are what we live with and touch each and every day.
The represent what we've seen,
 who we've loved, 
and where we hope to go next.
They remind us of the good times and the rough patches, 
and everything in between that's made us who we are."
Nate Berkus

January 21, 2013

dream a little dream today

10 x 10, oil on canvas

A dreamer is...
an optimist, idealist, positive thinker, visionary, star-gazer
and one who...
motivates, touches, stirs, elates, activates, encourages
and inspires!
~ ~ ~
"I have a dream today. 
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, 
every hill and mountain shall be made low,
 the rough places will be made plain and the crooked places will be made straight,
  the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, 
and all flesh shall see it together." 
Martin Luther King, Jr

"Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions." 
Edgar Cayce

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight,
 and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."
 Oscar Wilde

January 14, 2013

Faithful, Loyal and True

6 x 8, oil on canvas grand would the world be if humans were capable of learning what dogs instinctively know? They do their best to teach us, but we just aren't smart enough.

I first met this girl when she weighed only 3 pounds and had tiny needles for teeth.  She had three sisters who were lively, joyful and congenial, while this "little tarantula" as my son called her, was the runt of the litter, had fleas and absolutely no interest in us. So, of course we chose her.

Was it because we saw great potential? Nah... if I am honest, it was because we ever-so-arrogantly assumed that she needed us. But of course it doesn't take long to realize it is humans, with all our flaws, who need animals. Our little tarantula grew up and eventually traded her chewing tendencies for barking and begging for treats from anyone who would listen. I began painting around the time we brought her home, so she has been my studio companion for every painting day since. (The fact that she snored through most of them was never lost on me.) Over the years, she shared her unique knack for comedy and certainly tried her best to teach us by example.

Faithful, loyal and true. That is just what dogs are. They tirelessly attempt to teach us how to live in the moment, avoid grudges, and love unconditionally. Always studying our emotions and moods, they suddenly appear by our side when we need them most. With equal astuteness, they pick up on negative energy and danger. The difference between us and them is that when they recognize a potential threat, they don't shrug it off in order to "be polite" as humans so often do. Instead they trust their instincts. An important lesson to be sure. And what about that 6th sense that allows them to know their owner is approaching home, so they are waiting by the door when we arrive? Or their ability to sniff out cancer, predict epileptic seizures, and a whole host of traits we haven't even discovered yet? Inspiring, to be sure.

So, in honor of all the "little tarantulas" who come into our lives to teach us the Big Lessons, it is my privilege to donate a commissioned pet portrait to be auctioned at the January 19th Fur Ball,  a local fundraiser with all proceeds benefitting the humane society. To learn more, please go here.

 And to see another pet portrait, you may click here.

"Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures
 we place with curators in museums;
others we take for walks."
Roger Caras