Friday, December 24, 2010

More weavings

Still playing around with this weaving idea... Decided to try different versions on paper before going for it on the big canvas, so here I took a photo of each of the 4' x 5' paintings of a model. The two paintings were the same pose done in different colors... Cutting up each of the photos and "weaving" them creates some interesting effects. This is a rough draft, but it gives you an idea of the concept.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back to the Studio

During this hectic time of the year, I really felt like I needed a day to create in the studio. Finally took one this afternoon. I've been playing around with different ideas on what to do next. One idea stems from the fact that I have many canvases in half-finished states, or are just favorites from the past few years that are accumulating in my house. I thought about painting over some, but that rubs me the wrong way. So today I thought about taking two paintings and "weaving them together." I did this once in a watercolor class, but why not with canvas? If I use two acrylic paintings they can handle the manipulation... so I took a look at two versions of a painting of a model that I did each on 4' x 5' canvases.... hmm, perhaps I should start smaller.... so I played around with these abstract paintings I did a year or so ago. I had three of them, each on 18" x 36" canvases. I liked them well enough, but they needed a little more interest... So this is today's result.

The first image above is one of the original paintings. The second is the "weave" of two of them... the third is a detail shot of the weave. I'm really excited about how this came out, now I'm going to try it with the larger faces, but perhaps I'll play around with the colors of each first. Hmmmm...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two in One!

Fishing has become a new passion during this long warm autumn. Here I am catching two little bluefish in one cast! I never realized how much fun it is to hang out on the beach for an afternoon and catch your dinner...

Today the weather has turned colder, in the 40s, and my thoughts return to the studio. I am setting up my winter studio in the sunny west room of my house. Ready to get back in there and smear some paint around. Who knows what will come of it, perhaps fish will be an inspiration!?!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Light Paintings: Sally's Wish

Light Paintings: Sally's Wish

Above is a link to my brother's blog. I love this image he created for me.

I returned home about a month ago. Haven't posted much because I'm not back in the studio yet - I've been busy getting my house organized and cleaning/tossing things. Its very liberating to get rid of "stuff" you don't need - in the house and studio... I feel like its going to free up my mind when I do get back to the studio too. And I have art ideas swirling in my head as I clean...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sticks and Steel

The gallery owner for Sticks and Steel in Sioux Falls invited me to drop off a few paintings after the Custer Show. Went down there last week with all of my paintings to allow her to choose which ones she wanted. She ended up displaying all of them! They look great in her shop, and we went back down for the Friday Art Walk last week. Good turnout. Here's how the Blue Buffalo look.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Big Buffalo Painting

I decided to paint a large painting of a group of buffalo. It ended up as a triptych of three 30 x 48 canvases so that the final size is 48 x 90. This was great fun to work on. I really do prefer to paint on a big canvas, its liberating somehow...
I was finishing it up at the Custer show - people like to see how you lady asked "Why blue?" and I replied "Why not?"

Badlands Painting

Camped at the primitive Sage Creek Campground on the western edge of the Badlands Park. Although it wasn't the dramatic Badlands view like the previous photo, it was beautiful country with softer hills and buttes. A couple large buffalo would lumber past each morning, and coyotes yipped in the night. I got a couple paintings done there - here's one of the view from the campsite. Its 20" x 40" acrylics.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I've been painting in the Badlands the last few days on the way to Custer. Its beautiful country - will post some photos of the works in progress... but here's the view from one of the overlooks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stormy weather

This beautiful storm passed through a couple days ago. Gorgeous! Today I'm heading out to the Badlands to paint for a few days before the Custer show next week-end. Weather's supposed to be beautiful....can't wait!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Woo hoo!

Had a great show at the Sidewalk Arts Festival last week-end in Sioux Falls. Sold a couple landscapes during the show, and then took a painting on approval at the end of the show to a couple who lived nearby. They ended up buying four paintings! Lots of fun. The paintings really looked good in their house... also got a couple commissions from the show and the interest of a local gallery owner, at Sticks and Steel. I will take some landscapes for her to display at the October 1st artwalk.

Sioux Falls Show

Setting up in the early dawn for the Sioux Falls show last week-end...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Painting Picnic

Headed out to Oak Lake for a picnic and painting. Drove right up to the top of the hill in the Jeep to catch the breeze and escape the bugs! Theo made a hole under the Jeep and curled up in the shade...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Buffalo Nickel

Here's another work in progress. I decided to paint a couple round canvases with both sides of the buffalo nickel on them for the Custer show at the end of the month. Lots of fun!

Sympathetic Clouds

Spent a nerve-racking couple of days worrying about hurricane Earl nearing the coast of NC. My mom stayed at my house. Last night when it became clear that the danger had passed (the worst of the storm stayed offshore) the clouds here billowed up. I sent this photo to my mom and said we had "sympathetic clouds" for her hurricane. So glad its over...

Friday, August 27, 2010


Making progress on the Mount Rushmore painting - or "the Guys" as I've been referring to it. Its slow work, but its coming along...

Friday, August 13, 2010

New work in Progress

I've been enjoying painting western landscapes, but have been feeling a hankering to paint some faces again (always seem to come back to that)... so decided it might be fun while I'm out west to try a painting of the faces of Mount Rushmore. Then I thought of my Pride and Prejudice painting in which I painted the face over a collage of the pages of the book. I'm gonna paint the faces over the writings of the presidents depicted.

Once I came up with the idea, I've been having all sorts of fun researching the writings and searching for archives of the actual handwriting of the presidents (Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson). I found a wealth of info at the Library of Congress, including the image above which was in a letter to Roosevelt as a child from his father. I also found the Gettysburg address in Lincoln's handwriting. Way cool... Now to collage it all together coherently and then paint the faces... stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oakwood "studio"

Here's a shot of my "studio" at the Oakwood State Park. There were several lakes there formed by glaciers, and this nice picnic table on the top of the hill next to one. I started work on a long narrow canvas, 12 x 48 inches. Still needs work!

Catching up...

I've been hearing from several friends and family that I need to get back to my blog - Gee, its nice to know that someone's reading it!

After returning from the Rockport trip with my mom (see below), I took care of some business and then Max started calling to me again. I just love being on the road. Since I have painted a number of western scenes on my travels, I decided to apply to a couple western shows and see what happens. I'll be doing the Sioux Falls show in mid-September and a show at Custer State Park at the end of September... so I decided to head on back out and visit friends and get some more paintings done. Why not?

Here's a shot of Theo staying cool in Max at the Oakwood State Park where we camped a few days...

High tide in Rockport...

See the post below...

On the road again...

I've truly been bitten by the travel bug... my mom has decided that I must have some gypsy blood in me - perhaps! After my return from the grand canyon trip, I loaded up the camper van Max with my mom and Theo and we headed up to Massachusetts for a family reunion. Stayed in the funky cabin where my mom went as a kid, right on the rocks by the water. Here's a view from Max where Theo and I stayed right out front. This is low tide, next I'll post high tide. When high, there was a fun (but cold!) spot to jump in that's called "the bathtub."

Worked on a couple watercolors, but nothing to show for it yet...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Harmonic Balance - work in progress

Here's something that's not finished, I'm still playing around with it...

On my trip back from the Grand Canyon, my beloved camper van, Max, broke down. The "harmonic balancer" went out. I had it repaired on the road, and then got back here and the repair wasn't done correctly so I had to have it all done over, and then some. Luckily the crank shaft wasn't damaged, so Max is good as new now (though my checking account took a hit!)...

Anyhow, after picking Max up last week, the mechanics explained what happened and gave me the plate that covers the area that needed work. Its actually an interesting design, and it intrigued me... so then a few nights ago I had a dream about a painting in which a deep turquoise, rusty golds and off-whites played a part, and I decided to try to paint what I saw... this isn't quite what I saw in the dream, but its a fun evolution from it. Still working on it. Quite a change for me - I like stretching out in new directions and seeing where it takes me.

Another western landscape

In this one I painted the entire canvas in red first, then when I painted over it I left spots for the read to "peek" through. Adds interest and makes the greens pop...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More western landscapes...

I've been playing with painting from some of the photos I took on my trip out west... toying with the idea of creating a body of work for a western show. Could be fun. Here's a vertical landscape on which I've been working. Still intrigued by the play of light on the fields and the sense of distance. As I've mentioned before, its a similar challenge to painting my beloved Carteret County marshes in eastern North Carolina. This could almost be seen as a marsh as well.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rittenhouse Booth

Here's a snapshot of my booth with the new abstract painting - it's 6' x 6.' Fun, wild, bright, energetic colors...

Rittenhouse Square Show in Philadelphia

So far we've dodged the rainstorms and are enjoying partly sunny skies for this week-end's art show. I enjoy this show - many of the other artists have become my friends and Philadelphia's loads of fun. There are many good restaurants and shops within walking distance of the square. Sharing a big new abstract painting too, we'll see how its received. Will send a snapshot later when there's a little more sun on the booth...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kaibab Squirrel

I was telling my mom about this squirrel, whose habitat is confined to the mixed Ponderosa pine forest of the Grand Canyon's north rim and the surrounding Kaibab forest. A couple of them actually ran across my campsite one morning, but I wasn't quick enough to catch them on the camera, so this is a scan of a mom wanted to see them, so I thought I'd post it too...their white tail is very obvious when you see them live.


Getting reorganized after the trip... I did the math. The day I left Max's odometer read 79,206. Just went out and checked it and it now reads 85,768. So with all of my side trips and excursions, Max, Theo and I covered 6,562 miles! Yowser.

This shot of Theo lolling in the grass with the mountains in the background was taken from the Utah Lake State Park. Nice campsite right on the lake with mountains on all sides. Also saw lots of little warblers, a Western Tanager and there were several California Quail flirting in the campground.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dulce Domum

Its good to be home. My mom had fresh crabmeat and a cold Bass ale waiting for me - she'd even tied roses to the gate to welcome me and Theo. Even Max seemed to breathe a sigh of relief as we pulled in the drive - like he was heading to his stable... it was full spring when I left just over a month ago, and now its full summer... Deep lush greens. Still I feel like I left a part of me out west, I'll have to head back out there...what's next, a road trip to the west coast? Time will tell.

I like this shot I took tonight - its almost dreamy with the hydrangeas in bloom and Theo fuzzy to the left as he lolls in the grass... that hound traveled thousands of miles with me (I'll figure up the mileage tomorrow, I'm curious)... let's hear his thoughts...

Theo: "Oh man, I was just getting comfortable splayed out on this big mattress all to myself...ok, well, I have to admit I never thought I'd see my yard again. I had so much ground to cover when I got home - nobody with a decent nose would've known it was mine! They will now though. I got kinda used to Max, but when she headed out there again tonight I stayed well behind. Not getting me back in that van tonight, no sir. I'm comfortable right here...zzzzzzz"

He's out. I'm not far behind. What a great trip! Now I have to get prepped to go to Philadelphia next week for the Rittenhouse Square show - woo hoo!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Last stop

Here I am again...

...I've covered a few miles, young'uns, and here I am back at the first campground where I stopped my first night out from home. I had planned to be home today, but a little hiccup with Max delayed me a bit. Somehow it feels good to be in this cool, rainy spot tonight. I'm at the Camp Creek State Park in West Virginia, this shot was snapped at their falls.

Theo's konked out - has nothing to say after a couple of days of long drives. He'll be happy to get back to his own yard tomorrow...

Today marks a year since Jim died. I still find it hard to believe he's gone. He had such a vibrancy to him, that you just can't believe it.. He's been on my mind today, remembering our travels together and the good times we shared. I'm grateful for the time we had together.

What more can you say? These things are so totally out of our control...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Painting on the rim..

More on the Canyon...

Got some more photos off the other camera... so after starting out at the rim of the canyon, it got hot...first Theo found shade - dug himself a nice little hole to snooze in under a bush... after I finished the watercolor I moved to the same bush to work on a canvas in the shade. The light is intense. Didn't get the canvas finished, but made a good start. Will try to finish it from photos but I know that's not the same. Still if I do it while the trip is still fresh I hope to catch some of that spirit.

Its ironic that the wider the expanse you want to try to paint, the smaller each part has to be to fit... for example, if I wanted to just focus on one rock outcropping, then that could take up the entire canvas... but if I wanted to show the whole view in front of me, that same rock outcropping would have to be a small part...its one reason I like to paint big...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

By the rim...

Finally got painting yesterday. First I did this little watercolor study and then started on a canvas. Of course my shots of the canvas and the set up of my spot by the rim are on the other camera which will take some effort to upload, so they'll come later. For now, I'll share this little watercolor. I like the energy of it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Glorious day

Yesterday was wonderful. Started the day with a hike partway down into the canyon by the Kaibab Trail. Wasn't sure how far I could handle so went about a half hour down and then an hour to climb back out. Spectacular views!

Headed over to Cape Royal in the afternoon. There were lots of little overlooks on the drive there, all with incredible views of another side of the canyon. Then the grand finale of Cape Royal where you can see it in 300 degrees (not quite 360). Think I found a good spot to go back and paint today, where I can probably sneak Theo in with me. He had to stay in Max, poor baby, but he's getting used to it.

This is a shot of Angel's Window, on the way to Cape Royal. There's no way to capture the grandeur in a photo (esp. on a cell phone) but it gives you a hint...

Yesterday would have been the 19th anniversary of my marriage to Jim, so he was on my mind alot, of course. I'm so glad he left me a note (to read in case he died before me) telling me basically to get on with my life, that his only wish was for me to "flourish in the many ways in which I'd dreamed." I'm taking his advice and moving on - enjoying life. He showed me how short it is!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Angel Point


Hiked the 30 minutes out to Angel Point this morning to see the "true" Grand Canyon, not just the offshoot where I'm camped. Ok, everyone's right, you just can't describe it and the photos don't do it justice. I was lucky to get there in a lull, and actually had about 30 minutes to myself out there on the point. It was about 9am so all of the sunrise seekers were done. I'm sure the light is gorgeous at sunset, but then its packed with people, and I really like the solitude... so it was a glorious morning.

When I was there, there was practically no wind, and bright sun. Very quiet, could hear a few flies buzzing... I can see why people make pilgrimages to see this spot. Now the sky has clouded and the wind has picked up. I'm pleased to be cozy in Max looking at the view through the open side door. Amazed that I have excellent phone/mifi reception up here... now the forecast has changed and there will probably be a little snow tomorrow! No accumulation and it will come right back up to the mid-60s on Wednesday, but could be fun to see.

Here's Theo's take:
Well, I'm a little miffed that I can't walk the trails and have to stay in Max alone some, but I'm getting used to it. And today while we were walking along the edge of the campground I was just starting to get hot and pant, and then I discovered this little flat pile of snow. Gave it a sniff, then a bite and then rolled! Oh glorious coolness! Dragged my hot belly across it. Made me want to run like a mad dog - woo hoo!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On the way in...

Coming in to the Grand Canyon yesterday, this is hwy 67 from the north. As we topped the ridge, this is what the road looked like! Yikes! Luckily it descended just enough so that there is no snow here and climbing to the 60s today. Brilliant blue skies today...

Just starting to absorb the canyon. Its like this site is a small tease for the big view, which I'll see later today.

The park service brochure quoted geologist Clarence E. Dutton after his visit in 1880: "The earth suddenly sinks at our feet to illimitable depths. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, the awful scene is before us."

I would adjust that slightly to read "awe-full scene."

Looking forward to experiment with painting it...

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Here's Theo at the edge of the North Rim a few steps from my campsite. We're over-looking a little branch canyon called the Transept, and can see the bigger part of the canyon to our left. We are situated so that the wall facing us will be lit in the morning light, so I'll send a shot tomorrow.

Driving here there was still snow on some of the meadows and I was a little apprehensive that it would be cold, but I trusted my forecast and it was in the mid-60s here today. Will be in the 30s tonight, but back into the 60s and sunny for the rest of the week.

Made it!

Made it to the Grand Canyon! Woo Hoo! More later...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Well, chickened out at heading to higher elevations with the snowy forecast, so stopped just short of Denver at Lake Jackson State Park. Have a nice quiet campsite for the night. Interestingly, my phone barely has a connection, by my new little MiFi is going through fine.

Still chilly (40s) but got a few glimpses of sun today. The forecast for the Grand Canyon is for sun and 70s. Sounds good!

Here's Max under the Cottonwood trees. You can't quite make out the lake in the background... lots of Cedar Waxwings, Great Crested Flycatchers and Kingbirds.

Theo's relaxing. We had a nice run once we got here so we both feel better...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On the road again!

In Nebraska! Will be camping at the Fort Kearney State Rec Area tonight. Their website is:
Theo's looking forward to getting out of Max for a walk, but he's been a good sport today. Actually got some sleep on the back bed. The forecast is now calling for 6 inches of snow in the Black Hills, so I'm glad I didn't go that way!

Plan to be in Colorado tomorrow, then Bryce Canyon and then to the Grand Canyon on Saturday. Fun to be on the road again...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring flowers

The crab apples and lilacs are in bloom - making a lovely bouquet. Heading out tomorrow to continue the road trip to the Grand Canyon. Had planned to go via the Badlands and the Black Hills, but snow (!) is forecast, so heading south as soon as possible. Will probably camp in Nebraska tomorrow. wooo hooo!

Theo's take: I've really enjoyed the pheasants here, but now she's packin' up that @#$%^&* Van and she's going to make me get in it and ride while its moving. Oh dear...but she usually takes me to pretty cool places, so I'll get in (esp. if she gives me a treat to do so).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Still cold, but sunny

Theo has decided that this place is pretty cool... all sorts of nasty things to eat on our walks along the deserted country roads, and there are often things like pheasants to chase. Not so sure about the wind, but he's getting used to it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Front Coming Through...

Yikes! The temperature dropped to 45 degrees with a chilly NW wind. Its 83 back home! The wind just roars across the plains... very dramatic country.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Landscape Painting

Here's my first try at painting the landscape here in Big Sky country. This is a 18" x 36" canvas in acrylics. The light angling in at the end of the day is especially nice...and I love the many layers of greens in the alfalfa fields and shades of blue/purples/greys in the sky. The wind blowing through the fields really does look like waves on the water...many similarities to my marsh paintings.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Driving around the back roads in South Dakota, we found some wild asparagus growing along the road. Yum!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dark Sky

The light can be dramatic here when a storm runs through. Here's a shot of Theo running through an alfalfa field as the light was getting low. I find the light really intriguing. Got going on a couple paintings and found when I tried to capture the landscape there were many similarities to trying to capture the mood of the marshes at home. Will post a snapshot of a painting soon, once I get it presentable...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Big Sky Country

After leaving NC in the peak of a spring explosion of color, I've been going backwards in time, with spring going to earlier stages as I headed north. I'm now in the big sky country of South Dakota where spring is just beginning. The cottonwood trees are coming out, lilacs will be in bloom later this week and the little Pacque flowers are blooming low to the ground. The pheasants are busy working to attract mates and robins are building nests.

My mom sent me this quote from the Klinkenburg from the New York Times describing his time in Wyoming - it resonates here:

"It is, to use an old word, a viridescent day. The cottonwoods stopped moaning in the rain overnight. Every creature is suddenly addled with the season. A pair of sandhill cranes stand motionless against the hills. A bald eagle circles higher and higher. A tom turkey works the fence line, making Kabuki moves, his eye on some invisible hen. The deer are trapped in their winter coats, looking disreputable. The air is full of the ticking of red-winged blackbirds, full of the soft spring sun."

Theo's take:
I was out taking my usual sniffing rounds when I picked up a scent I've never smelled before. Holy cow! I pointed and then followed it - head down, tail up. It got more intense... all of a sudden, this colorful bird exploded out of the brush! I've flushed my first pheasant!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let the road trip begin!

Woo hoo! Theo and I are on our way... on a circuitous route to the Grand Canyon to visit friends and explore new territory along the way. So we left the eye-popping spring of coastal carolina and headed west. Got as far as Camp Creek State Park in West Virginia today. Peaceful spot, and look at these beauties that Theo and I saw on our walk once we arrived...

I was telling a friend of mine about the trip, and mentioning Theo's ambivalence. He wants to be with me (his pack) but isn't too excited about being in Max (the camper van) with all of its gurgling and clanking noises... I keep hoping he'll get used to it!

So my friend suggested that I include a blog from Theo's point of view. Brilliant! So now I will try to accommodate his take on the situations that arise... a la Travels with Charlie (sort of - if you don't know what I'm talking about, its a book by John Steinbeck)...

Anyhow, so my take on the day is "Woo Hoo! Off on another adventure!" And Theo was on the bed in the back of Max thinking "What the !@#$$%% is she making me do now?" i have to get bumped around in this clanging, rattling thing for hours on end? And for what? Oh... a long lovely walk in the mountains ( not bad) and oh! some yummy dinner morsels by the picnic table, and now a belly rub on the bed (that is decidely NOT moving) well, I'll go to sleep and think about it...