Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Eclipse

Paperwhite Narcissus, 6 x 6

Don't the holidays totally eclipse everything? Today was my first day back at the easel after several weeks of festivities and honestly, it was like starting over! After several wipeoffs of a larger canvas (and I mean multiple, full wipedowns), I decided to just try something small and ease my way back. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

PS - We had a wonderful Christmas visit with our family in Georgia - it was worth it! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big Bend finale

Desert Ocotillo, 6 x 8
This is my last Big Bend painting. I painted this typical desert scene along the Maverick Road, a "drive at your own risk" washboard with very few takers on this particular day. The light kept changing and everything looked completely different 30 minutes later. That's the fun - seeing all the different faces and colors of a place. It was a great trip...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ghost Town

Sunlit Pueblo, 12 x 12

Terlingua (a quirky little town just outside of Big Bend National Park) has a the remnants of a ghost town - an old mining village. There is still enough left of the old pueblos to fuel the imagination of life in another time. And because they are made of the earth, they appear to be truly part of the landscape.

A little bit of history: Mercury-bearing ore was discovered in Terlingua in the 1800's. The mining population grew from 300 to 1000 by the turn of the century and they even had a post office. "Terlingua" means "three languages" because the inhabitants spoke 3 different languages. The mine was closed in 1905.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cottonwoods in the Desert

Cottonwood Oasis, 12 x 12

Cottonwoods at Sunset, 12 x 12

Driving through the desert, I was amazed to see some trees changing color. These cottonwoods thrive next to streams and creeks, and I found their appearance in an otherwise starker landscape very compelling.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Terlingua Creek

Dry Creek Canyon, 12 x 16

This is another piece from my Big Bend trip. Terlingua Creek runs through the town of Terlingua and empties into the Rio Grande. It's pretty low right now but it fills up fast when the rain finally comes.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa Elena Canyon

Canyon Reflections, 12 x 12

Santa Elena Canyon is breath-taking - a massive wall of rock that has been cut through by the flowing river over millions of years. On this particular morning I loved how the sun lit up the rock (although it came and went) and how the reflections shimmered.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rio Grande River

Snaking Rio Grande, 12 x 16

Another angle of the Tex-Mex borderline... right now the Rio Grande is high and flowing fast, although sometimes you can go there and see almost no water at all. (The flow is controlled by a dam in Mexico according to local water needs.) From high on a hillside it looks quiet and peaceful as it meanders through the land - but it is a rushing force of power.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back from the Big Bend

Mountain Divide, 12 x 16

I spent last week painting in the Big Bend National Park with two wonderfully inspired painters Jill Carver and Kraig Kiedrowski. For me, it was kind of a "last hurrah" for the year and a peaceful interlude between holiday festivities. If you haven't been to Big Bend, I will be posting images over the next week for you to catch a glimpse. It is a diverse place of deserts, mountains, rivers and a little bit of the wild, wild west.
Pictured above: The Rio Grande River divides Texas and Mexico - land on the right side of the river is Texas; land on the left is Mexico.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tag, You're It!

Tag is a game we played as kids, and usually involved chasing and poking. Well, you know what they say, "the more things change, the more they stay the same"? Enter blogtag.

Last week, my blog friend Barbara Muir from Toronto tagged me. In this version of tag, it's a huge honor to be "tagged" because it comes with a sort of "blessing" from the sender. It's affirmation, it's good wishes, it's blog-love. SO, thank-you dear Barbara M.!

Here are the rules if you are "IT":
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you.
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know.

The Person Who Tagged Me: Again, Barbara Muir - please pay her a visit and let her know you were there with a nice comment.

7 Things About Me:
1 - I have lived North, South, East and West. In chronological order: N - Racine, WI during childhood, E - Lexington, MA after college (for only 1 yr.), W - Redwood City, CA for 19 years as young adult and raising kids, S - Austin, TX for the last 9 1/2 years and I love Austin!
2 - I met my husband when I was 12 and am still crazy about him.
3 - My two incredible children are grown up now... a huge bit of my heart will always be with them. My son, Rawson, lives in San Diego and my daughter, Emily, lives in Atlanta.
4 - My career life has always been in some area of art: studied fine art in college; taught art in private upper school; did graphic design for almost 20 years; now - full circle - back to painting.
5 - I teach painting at the Austin Museum of Art one day week during the fall and spring semesters.
6 - On the Meyers-Briggs temperment scale, I am an ENFP.
7 - Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday... a time to celebrate our many blessings and the important people in our lives; and to give thanks to our Creator for every good and perfect gift. Happy Thanksgiving all.

7 Bloggers I will tag:
William Wray - see his paintings of blight, places "worth remembering" - love them all.
Tom Brown - see a great demo and other fine paintings.
Mike Clark - see his brand new blog and watch for good things to come.
Rene - see plein air paintings from Holland, the Netherlands.
Ali Cavanaugh - see sensitive portrayals of body and soul.
Joan Breckwoldt - see her incredible Santa Claus painting.
And another kind of painting:
Erin Kleider - see my creative, talented sister and maker of beautiful dolls.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunset Countdown

November Sunset 1, 6 x 8

November Sunset 2, 6 x 8
November Sunset 3, 6 x 8

Wednesday night, our plein air group met to paint the sun setting over Lake Travis. It all happened fast and I wanted to paint the sun at different stages, so I was painting like a fiend! When it was too dark to paint, the sky turned completely orange and the water was deep blue - perfect complements. That would have been number 4 if I could have managed one more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Great Paint Out

The Road Less Traveled, 12 x 16

This past Saturday I attended one of the "Great Paint Out" events sponsored by the Oil Painters of America at a private ranch outside of Fredericksburg. It was a cold and windy morning but the paintout was well attended by lots of wonderful and hearty painters. "The Road Less Traveled" (so named by the ranch owners) offered downhill shelter from the wind; as well as a great angle on the bluest blue sky.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Party on the Lake

Quiet Cove, 12 x 16

This is "party cove" on Lake Austin in the summers. Young boaters tie their boats together here to make one giant, floating unit and party for hours. On this quiet morning, no one was on the lake at all. It was as still as can be with great reflections and stunning fall color sparkling on the distant shore. A totally different kind of party... but we, too, stayed for hours.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Hidden House, 12 x 12

Jennifer's Blue Door, 12 x 12
I am always looking for different, wonderful places to paint. My friend Jennifer Staub Myers is one of those people who says, "come any time" and really means it. Her fabulous garden (that always seems to be blooming) and beautiful blue front door welcome all who come visiting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day After the Elections

Hope on the Horizon, 30 x 40
Hope on the Horizon Study, 6 x 8
What did you do on Election Day? My good friend Lynn Cohagan and I got up early and painted the sunrise. I decided to just keep painting the sunrise, and the hope, all day - hence, the larger version. Whoever you voted for, it's a brand new day in this great country. New beginnings are always exciting... Arise and shine!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Painting and a Demo

Down by the Fish House, 12 x 16

Yesterday I got to paint with some great buddies at the new barn of our friend (and incredible artist) Lisa Beaman. Another glorious day and a fabulous lunch with friends... does it get any better than that?

For my plein air students as promised (and anyone else who is interested). This is what my personal painting process looks like step by step. (Many thanks to my mentor Cassandra James, from whom I learned so much about art, and life.)

1 - Block in shapes with dark neutral (toned panel).

2 - Lay in darkest darks, correct drawing.

3 - Add color in shadow family (dark to light).

4 - Add color in light family (dark to light).

5 - Begin sky and ground plane (dark to light).
6 - Continue sky, begin clouds.
7 - Highlights in light family, lowlights in shadow family.
.8 - Final highlights, final painting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tom Miller Dam

Below the Dam, 12 x 16

Autumn is finally arriving here and this has been a week of clear, cool days. It's absolutely glorious! Yesterday afternoon it was quiet down by the dam (before the afternoon dog walkers I guess). A sweet mother with her 3 children stopped by my easel and the kids all told me about their art endeavors. I love those kind of visits - maybe one of them will be a painter some day!

The Tom Miller Dam was built in 1938-1940 on top of the remains of two other dams that were swept away by flooding some time before that. It separates Lake Austin and Ladybird Lake (both are part of a long chain of lakes that runs through the Ausin area.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunnyside of the house

Mayfield House, 12 x 16

This historic 1870's cottage is surrounded by extensive gardens, lily ponds, hiking trails, and a large family of peacocks that struts around and generally keeps a watchful eye on things! The property was donated to the city of Austin in 1971 by the family of Allison Mayfield (a former Texas Secretary of State in the early 1900's). It's a peaceful spot right in the middle of town.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Perfect Day

Trisha's Hay Barn, 12 x 12

We are beginning to have some wonderful, cooler days here in Austin; and today was one of them! I was so glad to be outside. Our painting group met up early at the beautiful ranch of one of our members, Trisha Bridges. There were Longhorns wandering around, horses that kept guard, and happy painters all around!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Art School Gallery Show

Trio, 12 x 12

My last couple of weeks have been so full. Teaching, travel, all good stuff... but it's nice to take a short breather. My still life class was invited to do a show at the Art School Gallery, and tomorrow morning I will go over to install it. My students are very excited - they have done great work and the show is going to be beautiful. This piece of mine will be included.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beautiful Fall Day

Ladybird's Cistern, 12 x 16

Finally cooler, incredible blue sky... today was a perfect day to be out painting. My group met up at the Ladybird Wildflower Center and this is one of several cisterns for collecting water on the expansive property. Lady Bird left a huge mark on Texas with her commitment to wildflowers, native plants and natural landscapes. She made the world a better place.

"We are obligated to leaving the country
looking as good if not better than we found it."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Still Life Sketches

Still Lifes with Metal Containers, each 6 x 6

These are more small sketches from still life set-ups I did for my class. The challenge was to paint the metal vessels so that they actually look metallic. Our brains totally freak with the idea of "shiny." We have to over-ride that to just paint what is there... mostly muted passages with just a few spots of "shine." And it's tricky!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sometimes they look different...

Morning Light Peeks Through, 30 x 40

Study for Morning Light, 12 x 16 (originally posted July 17)
This is another large studio painting next to it's original study. In this case, the large piece took a different direction as I painted it (sometimes these things have a life of their own). Although it started out pretty much the same, the smaller trees on the water's edge kept fighting for dominance. Removing them was like ending a war on the canvas. It must have something to do with the overall size... anyway, peace was won and that's what counts!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Inspiring Story

The Menagerie, 6 x 15, pen and ink

I made this drawing a couple of weeks ago for local shopkeeper, Vicki Roan of The Menagerie. She wanted it for a big thank you ad to the community for 30 years in business. For those of you who are in Austin, the ad is in this morning's Glossy section of the American Statesman. A great article in the same section describes how she started the business out of her home as a single mom with young children. Now her grown daughter helps her run the business. It's a sweet story and I wish them 30 more years of success!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Large Painting with Small Study

Afternoon Glow, 30 x 30
. Study for "Afternoon Glow", 12 x 12 (originally posted 8/23)

This is another large painting based on a plein air study. I painted the smaller one on location on St. Simons Island, GA and then worked from that to paint the large piece. I had several people tell me they would be interested in seeing the the two together, so here you are. In this case, I followed the composition and color pretty closely. This process of starting small allows me to gather information on my travels for larger work back in the studio.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday Morning

Pond Lily, 12 x 12

Yesterday morning, members of Plein Air Austin met at a local park expecting to paint at a pond with great morning reflections. But when we got there, it was covered with small algae plant forms (aka pond scum). In the midst of the algae, one small group of lily pads was thriving with beautiful lotus flowers. This lily was fully open, bathing in the sunlight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Remembering Summer

Hill Country Clouds, 30 x 30

This is another studio piece based on a plein air painting from this summer. For these larger works, I begin the process outside gathering information about shapes, color and light. Then I paint a large version of my favorites and/or the ones that seem scalable (there are many small ones I love but don't think would work in a large format.) We had some of these big clouds again this week and they are so compelling!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Still Life Sketches

Still Life Sketches, each 6 x 6
I teach painting at the Austin Museum of Art and my still life class started this past Wednesday. One of my favorite things about it is collecting paintable objects and creating fun vignettes for my students to paint... And of course I always want to paint them myself! So this week, I came home and did these quick sketches.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Visiting the Botanical Garden

Angel Trumpets, 12 x 12
On Thursday our Plein Air Austin group went to Zilker Gardens, a botanical garden in Austin that is full of beautiful specimen plants. Right now is a good time to see color and lots of blossoms. This plant was my favorite - the fancy name is Datura, but "Angel Trumpets" is much more descriptive. (PS - they are beautiful, but highly poisonous!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back in the studio

In the Stillness, 30 x 48 diptych

Although the summer travel and painting on the road has been quite fun, I am enjoying being in my home studio and working on bigger canvasses! This larger piece is based on a plein air study I painted this summer on Lake Travis. It was a quiet morning on the lake and the reflections of the distant shore just sparkled.

This painting will go to the Davis Gallery here in Austin.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Make it a good one...

Golden Grasses, Golden Sky, 12 x 12
Final post from my mountain trip... While I was painting this, a kind gentleman pulled off the road to come see what I was doing. He is a physician in Livingston, had a father who painted, and was thrilled that I was out there painting his town. As he drove off he told me, "make it a good one, this is where the new hospital is going."
Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got till it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...
- joni mitchell

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Grazing in the Pasture, 9 x 12

During the two weeks I spent in the mountains, I kept passing cows in pastures and wishing I could paint them, but there was never a good place to set up. On the last day in Livingston, I finally found a field with room on the shoulder to paint that even had shade!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yellowstone River

Mountain River, 16 x 12

Down by the Riverside, 12 x 12

Same river, different angles... these are from my days in Montana, where I went to visit my gallery Tierra Montana in a little Western town called Livingston.

Brilliante WEBlog Award!

Yesterday I received this award from two fellow bloggers, Elizabeth Floyd and Barbara Muir, and am so delighted. It's so encouraging and I am truly honored to be awarded in this way! Thanks Elizabeth and Barbara!

Here are the "Brilliant Weblog Award" rules of acceptance:

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.
6. Participation is entirely voluntary (of course!).
7. Have fun...honoring the bloggers who inspire you regularly.

These are my picks (you are all my so good at what you do):

1. Carol Marine, for her consistent inspiration and delicious still lifes

2. Virginia Vaughan, for her farm series and other wonderful landscapes

3. Robin Cheers, for her loose 30 minute studies

4. Jann Alexander, for her fabulous photos of vanishing Austin scenes

5. Stephen Magsig, for his cool Detroit scenes

6. Jenedy Paige, for her lovely portraits

7. Gerald Schwartz, for his wonderful simple shapes and California light

Thank you all for your inspiration.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Outside the mountain house

Winter Woodpile, 9 x 12

At the end of a long day of hiking and painting, I couldn't resist one more attempt with this little vignette. Our friends had cleared some dead trees, the logs were all stacked so neatly and who can resist a red wheelbarrow? Not me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On the way to Columbine Lake

Mountain Adventure, 12 x 12

There is something so spectacular about hiking in the mountains. Every time the path turns, a new vista appears that is more breathtaking than the last. (Columbine Lake, Tabernash, CO)