Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sticky Toffee Pudding!!

This recipe was acquired by my friend, Susan Vaughan, from a hotel in the Lake District of England. I'd give you the name of the hotel but it is supposed to be a secret recipe and I don't want to get Susan in trouble. Email me if you really want it!

I've adjusted the recipe to include US measurements and made a few other minor changes. It is a NO-fail, perfect holiday desert!

Sticky Toffee Pudding for 8 or 10
Line the base and all 4 sides of a largish loaf pan with Pam and then some parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1/4 lb (1 stick of butter) Beat until fluffy.
Add slightly less than one cup of granulated sugar
Then, little by little, beat in:
3 beaten eggs.

Fold in 1 cup and 3 TBS of self rising flour (Don't have self rising flour? Use regular plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt).
Separately, cover 8 oz of stone chopped dates with 1 cup boiling water mixed with 1 tsp each of baking soda and vanilla and 1 TBS of Camel Coffee. If you don't have the Camel Coffee, a coffee extract or 1 TBS instant coffee mixed with equal measure of water, will work just fine.
Fold in the date mixture to the egg, sugar, butter, flour mixture to form a sloppy batter. Pour in to prepared tin and bake for one hour.
TEST IT IS SET and then remove from the oven. This part can be frozen and/or made a day or 2 in advance.

Slice the loaf and put each piece in a deeper type plate or shallow bowl.
Make the toffee sauce by combining in a small saucepan:

1 1/4 cups brown sugar, 4 oz soft butter and 8 TBS of heavy cream. Bring to a boil.

Then pour some of the sauce over each slice. Then, either microwave for 30 seconds or flash under the broiler. Add a small bit more of the heavy cream to the top and serve.

This is a very rich dish. But is so delish!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

7 & 7--Not the drink

Antonito 20" by 20" oil on canvas--first of these new oils to sell!

Friday night, Angel Fire ArtSpace hosted a reception celebrating the 7th anniversary of the gallery's existence and 7 of the original female artists. I was one of them. Katherine McDermott, the owner of the gallery, asked each of us to try something new or different. So I brought some of my oils. It was fun to see the oils on display. Since I tend to jury into shows in the drawing or pastel category, I haven't been able to show any of the oils. But, Katherine had set up extra space for the show (and of course, I forgot my camera) and had my oils on display. And, I was pleased. I think they looked good. And, when I got an email from her yesterday, saying she had sold one and had good interest in several more, I felt really good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Chaos and Oils Update

December is always a busy month, despite the fact that I don't do any shows in December. But, with thousands of Christmas cards to write and stamp and send, Christmas shopping to think about and then do, and then the whole decorating bit--yes, Santa Claus has provided me with a tree to decorate. I've got the twinkle lights hung in the kitchen the farolitos/luminaria out on the deck rail, the 2 smallest pine trees in the yard decorated with red ribbons, and garlands hung with red ribbons around the deck posts. But the tree awaits my efforts outside the kitchen door. Maybe tomorrow.

I did do the Rio Grand Arts & crafts show over Thanksgiving. And I always get a bunch of inquiries for pieces as Christmas gifts --and this year, quite a few of those have turned into sales. Yeah! (Although I never really realized how much time it takes to pack a piece....) And I took 5 days to go to Chicago to visit the family. And I'm hanging a bunch of work in the Angel Fire Visitors Center through the end of this month, and Angel Fire ArtsSpace, the gallery here in town is hosting a special anniversary show called 7 Years, 7 Sensational Ladies and I'm one of those 7. And so, I am bringing some of my new oils to the gallery. Some won't be dry enough but some will and the reception will give me an opportunity to gauge the reaction to my works in a different medium. And so I am excited and anxious about it. So, December has been busy. But, now that it is just about too late to do any online shopping to ship back out, I'm not too worried about that part of the Christmas season. And now it is time to get down to some good studio time.

Yesterday was a big day in frustration. Although I'd painted some pretty big oils I was quite happy with: 30 by 40 & 36 square just before Thanksgiving, I'd forgotten a lot. So it made for a frustrating painting day. And unlike most times, when I tell myself I have to finish a piece, I left the one that I worked on yesterday for another time. Until I'm feeling a bit more comfortable with the oils. So today I got right to work and am super duper pleased with my progress. I think the night time one may be done and I don't have too much more to put into the other but since it was super dark I decided to stop. But I can't wait to get out there tomorrow. Unless I'm shoveling snow! And sometime I'll decorate that tree!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Artist Statement--take 2

A few days ago I posted about writing my artist statement. Well, it is due today and so it is going in as is. But, I know I have more work to do. I get stuck with descriptive phrases that I think are right--only when I dig a little deeper, I realize they are that artist "flower-y" sh--.

This is what will go with my photo and the 4 images that I juried in with. I really like art shows that take the time and effort to create such sophisticated websites. It is good for the exhibitors as well as for the patrons. Only I don't like the extra work.

I like the feel, the smell, and the look of oil pastels. I use these "buttery crayons" to create my whimsical landscapes. Drawing from sketches, snapshots, memory, and imagination, I loosely sketch the overall composition and then apply the oil pastels. Once most of the color is blocked in, I smudge, I rub, I scrape. Then I add more. And, the best part about the process: I get to do it again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

short but sweet artist statement: take one

I need to write a short artist statement for the Main St Ft Worth art show and their website. I also know I need to update and revise my full artist statement for displaying at art shows. I don't like doing either. I love to paint (or color) and I don't write much any more and I really don't like writing too much about why I paint what I paint. I just do. I don't really analyze it. The more I paint or experiment or work in the studio, the more ideas I have. It really isn't an organized thought process. So, maybe this is good. I actually have to think about it a little. And maybe it will organize my work efforts a little more. And, hopefully not take away the fun and excitement and fear and accomplishment I feel as I move my art forward. So, while the full blown artist statement was to be accomplished today, I think I have to let the ideas boil and churn around a little. Then maybe I can come up with something fresh.

For my Fort Worth Main Street artist statement for their website: Take one:

I like the way oil pastels—those buttery creamy crayons--engage my senses: the feel, the smell, the look. I use them to create my whimsical landscapes. These drawings are based on places I have captured in snapshots, sketches, memory, and imagination. Once intrigued with a specific subject, I begin with a very loose sketch to create the overall composition, making sure there is rhythm and flow to the piece. Then, I work with line and color to flesh out this enchanted place, in hopes of inviting the viewer to walk right in. Welcome and enjoy.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Sorry, loyal followers, for my distractions and lack of communication. More is promised and will, hopefully, be delivered. Between preparing for the holiday show in Albuquerque over Thanksgiving, and planning a quick family visit to Chicago, along with the stamping, labeling and writing of my huge number of Christmas postcards, trying to do a little online shopping, I haven't gotten a lot of art done. But, I'm getting closer to getting some new and somewhat different things out. And I promise to post the progress--for good or ill!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Over the river and "Through the Woods"...The title to today's piece. 12 by 12 image on paper in 21 by 21 frame $600

I'm pleased with the snow and actually used very little white in the piece..... Thought it an appropriate post for Turkey Day. We're off to Albuquerque for the show. I'm hoping the roads are good.

And, on a day of thanks, I'll give it. I'm thankful for my family, which includes the dog, JuneBug--maybe the best dog ever--and my friends, old and new. I'm thankful I found the perfect guy for me--handsome, funny, kind and very patient! (Thanks, Pat, for the introduction some 24 years ago.) I'm thankful for my "job". I'm thankful that I continue to have inspiration and ideas so plentiful I can't get them all down. I'm thankful for the beautiful place I live and the wonderful life I'm living.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Preparing for the Last Show of the Year

I've just sent Rees out to the studio so he can wire up the 30 odd pieces I have been framing over the last day and a half. The wires are his job. I assemble most all the other parts of the framing process. See, if I miss a JuneBug hair on a mat, then I can only get mad at myself. Not Rees. He's very good with this arrangement. Very good.

Framing is one of my least favorite parts of being a full-time artist. So I tend to wait until the last minute to do it. And, it is really faster if you do it in assembly line format. But, with the New Mexico Arts And Crafts Festival coming up this next weekend, I realize I've got a lot to do.

I've been exhibiting my art at the Angel Fire Visitors Center for the months of October, November and December --if you are in the area stop by!--and I need to take some of that inventory with me. But I don't want to leave the Center with empty walls for the Thanksgiving Holiday. So, I'll take some other pieces down there and switch the art out. This is always a tad problematic. I always bring way too much art to a show. Just in case. And, inevitably, if I leave a few pieces at home, then someone has spotted those pieces on the website and wants to see them. So, I've figured that if I've ended up leaving something up at the visitors center that someone wants, I'll just have to be willing to drive it back down to Albuquerque--and since I'm flying out of ABQ the following Saturday for a quick trip to Chicago, that really won't be so hard!

Then, the van has served for an extra storage space for the last month and a half. I've got to clear that out of excess junk. Then, boxing up all the art, charging my credit card machine, packing my clothes, etc...all the fun stuff. But, I'm looking forward to one more opportunity to put my art out there this year. I'm sorry, though, that I didn't have a few of the oils done to jury into the show with. I'd love to display some of them at the show. Only I appplied in the drawing category. So I really can't. Rats. Maybe next year!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brushes have Arrived!

Yesterday a wonderful package arrived at the post office. Wrapped in brown kraft paper, with writing just a little different than what I'm used to seeing here in the states, was my box of new art brushes from Rosemary & Co. A small family business in west York, England, Rosemary and her small staff make these wonderful brushes--or so I'd been told. I had to try them for myself. And, since I never jump into things very slowly, I bought a bunch!!!! (See photo above.) And, while I've only had the chance to use 3 of them, THEY ARE WONDERFUL!!! Their shapes are perfect, the hairs the perfect length, they do not shed hair and they return to shape as they are supposed to. In fact, I even signed my name on a big piece yesterday and didn't have to agonize about each stroke. So, whether you are a novice painter or an expert professional one, give a hint this christmas season about wanting some of these brushes. They are not expensive (well, if you go kolinsky sable they aren't cheap--the most expensive hair out there). In fact, even the kolinskies are not expensive....And they are way better than a cheap set from an online art store. I'm so happy with my purchase (and overall, they were less expensive than the order form stated because they were shipped out of the UK!) I'll be posting some of my works done with the brushes as I go this winter. I hope you'll be pleased.
Check out her website!
She's got a facebook fan page too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lesson in Oil

So, after having some real fun in the studio, I learned a lesson yesterday. We purchased a new (and more efficient) wood stove for the studio, along with having it and a new chimney pipe installed by professionals. So, my studio shouldn't burn down. Fingers crossed.

I've been playing with the oils and really getting used to them--so much so that I'm not having to think critically about each and every move I make. An artist I met this summer said she used walnut oil rather than liquin as her medium when she had to let her paintings dry in the same space in which she slept. So, I thought, great--way better than having the stink of liquin around me all day long. So I acquired some Charvin walnut oil from one of my art supply houses--Jerry's Artarama. And, I really like how it mixed with the paints for a real buttery consistency. Only, yesterday, when the guys were installing the wood stove and had to move the dog beds and the rug, they tossed them aside, and right into one of the oils I had leaning against the cabinets. Turns out the walnut oil takes way longer to dry to the touch than the liquin. I ended up spending a good hour plucking dog hairs from the surface of the painting. I think, for the most part, I'll stick with the Liquin.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Playing with Oils

Rough sketch of Embudo
Thought I'd like the road and mountains to be about the same color. I was wrong.
So, I wiped out both the background mountains and the road.
Added more oranges to the mountains and made the road more blue. I think that worked better. Tomorrow maybe some highlights on the trees.

I'm enjoying the oils and have another one in the works. What surprises me is how working large seems easier than working small. This piece is 36 inches square on canvas.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


So, I posted about the whole issue of Christmas/ holiday cards and coming up with an image--and how it poses a problem for me every year. This year, after a day of squiggling, procrastinating, and generally not drawing, I managed, TODAY, to paint an image I think will be quite appropriate for my card. I'm going to try another one along the same lines but in oil and see which I like better. But, I know I've got something good in my back pocket! And that feels good. And, no, you can't see it yet, if you are on my snail mailing list, you'll get your own. Otherwise, send me an email with your snail mail address and I'll add you to the database.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Bug didn't like this outfit too much!
Here's the side view. She's too big to actually tie the cape thing on! But her collar and Izzy's socks go nicely!
Iowa, Interstate 80, December 26, 2009
We've been enjoying the beautiful fall weather these last couple of weeks. Temps in the 60s during the days and 20s and 30s at night. That is pretty ideal. Sunny. Fresh. Nice. Pinon in the air from the wood stoves. Crisp.

But, this is the time of year when I have to create the image for my holiday card. You know, that thing you send out to wish everyone a wonderful season. I always use an image of my art. And, I always wait until the last minute to come up with the image. And with all this balmy weather, snow scenes are not exactly what is on my mind! It is really tough to switch gears and remember purple and pink shadows on the snow that is really not very white at all--only highlights. And my photos just don't do the real stuff justice. But, I've got some ideas brewing--they just aren't there yet. Maybe someone could remind me that, when we do have a great snow fall, that I should get out the next day with my D90 and not my point and shoot and TAKE SOME PICTURES! And then work on next year's card right then and there. But, I tell myself that every year and I still don't do it. I'm thinking maybe I need a manager to keep me in line!

In any case, hopefully you won't be receiving a holiday card from me that is of JuneBug dressed as Santa or of the over turned cars we saw driving back to the midwest last winter. Wish me luck (and send any ideas you may have for the perfect holiday card!)

On a positive note, I've had two great painting days!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Different Slant

Experimenting time is an important element of being an artist. I don't have much time to do that during show season. But, with only one show remaining this year, I've been working on a variety of things--although admittedly I haven't yet tackled my 48 by 72 canvases. Will keep you posted on that!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

As Promised

Yesterday I posted about seeing colors without my glasses--seems my bad eyesight allows me to see the important things and delete the minutiae ...Thanks, Wolf

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blessings in Disguise: Ode to Wolf Kahn

I don't have good eye sight. In fact, it sucks. But, it turns out this can be a good thing. Today, as I was standing in my studio, looking out the window to see if it had started snowing yet, I took my glasses off to rub my eyes. Before returning the glasses to their resting place on my nose, I looked out the window. What I saw was a really cool, albeit blurry, image. What most impressed me with this vision was the color. Glorious color. And, color I really never see. I think he brain translates too much of the color to what you think it is supposed to be. Green grass, brown tree trucks, etc. But, those weren't the colors at all. The trunks were purples and violets, some of the leaves were green, yellow and pink, the grasses were shades of peach and yellow with violet in the shadows, white sky with twinkles of pink and gold. So, I took a few oil pastels from my pastel table over to the window and did a quick sketch. And, while the whole thing wasn't perfect, I absolutely loved the color!

And, while this might sound like I am bragging on myself, I thought immediately that the piece had an air of Wolf Kahn to it. And then I remembered that he has macular degeneration--and can't see super well. But, what his eyes can see is color and shape and really everything essential for a good painting or drawing. I'm going to remember to take my glasses off every once in a while. That way I'll see better. Or truer. And I'll post the sketch tomorrow. It is snowing now and I don't want to go outside to get my camera! Plus, it will be too dark to get a good image.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Comfort Food--Jen pancakes

We had "jen" pancakes for brunch today. They are more commonly known as Swedish pancakes. When I was a little girl, mom would make these for us before she and dad were going out on a Saturday night. So she wouldn't get frying butter bits on her good clothes, she'd come downstairs with makeup on, in her hose and in her navy blue slip and cook us the pancakes, then go up and put on her dress.

I felt like them this morning. So we made 'em. Yum! And easy, peasy!

Mix well in a bowl:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
dash salt
2 eggs---that is the recipe for one person

Get a frying pan hot, then add good butter--organic unsalted from Pastureland Coop was delish!, get the butter brown, then pour in batter--small amounts and roll around the pan--the batter, not yourself! They cook a bit like crepes. Flip. Turn out on plate. Make another one, and another. (The amounts above make 3 plate sized cakes--enough for 2 for me and one for the dog!) I like lemon and powdered sugar on them. Bug (my dog) doesn't like the lemon. As a kid, I always also liked raspberry jam in the mix. Eat in cut up bits or roll up!

Friday, October 22, 2010

That Time of Year: Confessions of an Itinerant Artist

Unless you win an award at a show, you have to apply and jury in if you want to participate. It doesn't matter how many great shows you've been in before, or how many paintings you sold the last time you did a certain show. You basically apply for your job each and every time. It is one part about my job that I don't particularly like.

I like how I draw. I like what I draw. But not all juries do. And that is rough. So, here we are when most of the applications for a bunch of the spring shows are coming due. And this is the time when I start second guessing myself. Wondering which shows might have me. And thinking about other artists whose work maybe doesn't really look like their application images and others who get into just about any show they apply to. And then there is me. I get in sometimes. I've done many of the top shows across the country. And I've done well. But I don't always get in. And that is frustrating. It is a time when I think maybe I should alter my style, or at least prove to myself that I can paint/draw in a slightly different manner.

Usually I do a few pieces that are out on the edge for me and then I realize, all over again, that I like what I paint. The above images are such an experiment. But, I do like elements of these a lot. Even if they are somber and dark. So, some of these elements may show up in my day to day work. And that is a good thing!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Homage to Autumn

Our color has been spectacular this fall. The aspen have an incredible glow to them that I don't think I've ever seen in such abundance in the 15 years I've lived here. It is as if their is an inner light to the individual leaves. I feel so lucky to live here. Although, the snow in the forecast for later this week has me wondering. I could maybe wait a couple of weeks for that!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lesson One: You get what you pay for.

Okay, so the oils worked better today. Or, really, I should say my brushes worked better today. Turns out, like all art supplies, you get what you pay for.

I have people all the time come up to me and ask why their oil pastels works don't look like mine. For one, they are theirs, but maybe more importantly, those who ask, are generally using an inexpensive, off-brand. Translation: more filler: less pigment. Less pigment: less coverage.

But, I get that it is hard to plunk out lots of money if you are not even sure if you are going to like the medium. So, when I bought my oils , I did spend up. But, being the wise fool that I am, I thought I could skimp on the brushes. You know, with oil pastels, you don't even need a brush, so why should they matter so much. Then, as I was out there in the internet art world--yes, I was procrastinating--I kept reading over and over again how good brushes were a key to successful painting. Well, it turns out I do have some very good brushes--they just weren't the clean looking and tidy ones I purchased 2 winters ago for the first "oils experiment." So, I used those. I'll keep the others for craft projects and the like but will not reach for them first when working with my new-found medium. Never, if I can help it.

But, that begs the question: where do you get and what are the best brushes? Well, again I forgot the blog and my computer closed down during still another power outage today (they happen on a very regular basis around here!) so I can't even look at my history to find the artist who recommended the site I'm dying to buy from: Rosemary and Company.

Rosemary and her staff of several women make hand-made brushes that are supposedly to die for. She lives in West Yorkshire, England, ships to the US and is about one half the price as the art supply stores I frequent. So, I think the next time I sell a significant piece, I'm gonna treat myself to some of her brushes. She's on facebook too--I'm gonna go find her there!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Little Overwhelmed

Finished this oil pastel today.... Too bad it was dark out by the time I finished it or you'd see a better pic (maybe).

I've only got one more show for the year and always look forward to the time when the shows don't come as fast and furious. It is a time I relish as I get to go out to the studio and try some new things, test some ideas, and recharge my art batteries. So, I pulled out the oils that had been languishing in their box and started working with them. But, as with most things in life, painting gets easier with practice. And I, simply, have not spent enough time painting. I draw, with my oil pastels, a lot. But paint brushes and mediums and paint squeezed out on a palette are still a sort of foreign thing for me. Things take more time. And they are more frustrating. But, I do think working in media that aren't your forte is a way to inform and improve your art. So, I'm going to
continue working with the oils over the new few months.

But, I've got some other ideas I want to pursue--fresco and venetian plaster. I've got a gazillion things to do around the house, and at the other house. And, I've got to create some new work for a temporary gallery in Seattle, I've got to replenish my own inventory so when I go to my last show I actually have enough panels--since there are about 30 hanging in the Angel Fire Visitors Center through December. Then, there is the issue of show applications. There are some upcoming deadlines for some spring shows and I should probably work on getting some new pieces complete for some of those. But do I want to create an entire new body of work? OR continue my "landscapes"? Or, should I just not worry about it?

I read on some blog the other day that one of the things about having too many things on your to-do list (sorry, I can't recall the blog--), even if you get some of it done, you don't tend to take the time to enjoy your accomplishments. So, maybe I won;t make such a long to-do list in my head. And then maybe it won't seem so overwhelming. Maybe.

Monday, October 11, 2010


It is that time of year--when the elk are bugling, when the aspens take on their autumn glow, when my show schedule has become much more manageable. It is also one of my favorite times to go traipsing around New Mexico, to take more pics of the landscape that inspires me. My work is based on the real places of northern New Mexico but I have been known to use my super-human powers to move a building forward in a composition, or to delete the propane tank and the old auto up on blocks (unless, of course that car is a truck and turquoise and from the 50s or before!).

The photos I have posted above are pretty good examples of the types of reference photos that I use. They are not perfectly "shot". I generally don't even stop the car (or van) although I may ask Rees to drive a little more slowly so I can get a few more burst shots while we drive by. In fact, I most prefer using my little Sony Cybershot, which we got after the van was vandalized in St Louis 2 falls ago to replace a little Exalim. I absolutely HATE the un-intuitive menu on the Sony but you can really take some decent shots with the "burst" feature.

So, we're off later today to do a little scouting about, along with doing a quick grocery run in Taos, and see the Taos Fall Arts Festival--Taos Invites Taos and the Taos Open. I hope I get some good shots. I'll share some of them with you. And, hopefully, I'll be inspired!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Return from Dallas

This is how I felt after 6 days of eating in Dallas--like the largest pig at the Texas state Fair--1201 lbs!
Got a chance to visit with Rees' Uncle Bill & Aunt Shirley in Waxahachie!
Now I know where horse tail braid comes from!
The tallest ferris wheel in the western hemisphere at 212 feet--it wasn't even scary! But it does beg the question "What is the tallest one in the eastern hemisphere?"
The pumpkin carving was incredible!

So, we arrived in Dallas a day early for the Cottonwood show and I dragged Rees & his sister, Laird to Canton for the biggest flea market I had ever seen. I didn't bring anything home (this time) but it was really fun to see. Plus, we found a really good diner place that had a mostest wonderful chicken fried steak!

The Cottonwood Art Festival was wonderful--perfect weather--which is quite unusual for this show.

Then, on Monday, we went to the Texas State Fair where I consumed my annual Fletcher's corny dog--really, there is no other that is as good!

A visit to a client home on Tuesday while Rees golfed and then dinner with dear friends, Don & Judy Lambert. And, then it was time to leave--just in time too as JuneBug's nails had worn down to almost the quick from all her fetching/jumping in Laird's pool!

Real blogging starts tomorrow!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Hi--as promised, I'm in booth 111 at the Cottonwood art show in Richardson Tx this weekend. I'm on the east side of the show, east of the little road that runs through the middle of the show, about a row and a half south of Beltline. Hope you can come by!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I'm really enjoying my painting these days. Getting out there and really trying to expand my color palette. Not so much that the pieces don't look like mine, only a bit more colorful and playful. It is still production mode, as I still have a few shows this year, along with a 3 month exhibit at the Angel Fire Visitors' Center, a show at the local gallery celebrating the 6 women who have been with the gallery for 7 years, which is scheduled for December. Then we've got a Lawrence family vacation in the works for the end of November, right after my last show.

But, I digress. I was talking about production versus creativity flow. Or at least that was the topic I thought I would address when I signed into blogger a few moments ago. What I wanted to talk about was how I relish my time away from merely producing for shows, the time when I can experiment and try new things. Really, for an artist, it is crucial to follow this step. Otherwise, I think the work could get stale....we've all seen artists who have been doing the exact same thing year after year, decade after decade, and some of it is just old and tired. I don't want that to happen to me and my work. It needs to grow. And in order to do so, I need time to experiment and try things. The last 2 winters I have been working with oils and alkyds--and I'm having fun with those and plan to continue more experimenting with them.

I also want to try some very different things--working with venetian plaster and more layering of texture along with some work in actual buon fresco. I find this avenue to be of interest for several reasons: 1) I wouldn't mind coming up with a secondary body of work that is not so New Mexico centric 2) I'd like to experiment with some more abstractions of the landscape and I think this might be easier to tackle in a medium I'm not so familiar with 3) As many different combinations of fixatives and varnishes I have tried--maybe I'll show you the complicated matrix of those combinations sometime!, I'm still not totally satisfied--and I really don't like the toxicity of the fixatives.. With the fresco, the pigment actually chemically bonds with the plaster so that it becomes part of the plaster--no need for sealing, if you don't want to. Although you can use a wax, if you like. But, all in all, much greener than what I am doing with the oil pastels. I really have no idea what will come of this/these ideas. I've been researching the tools I'll need for both of these things and have many carts filled with potential options. I'm excited about this. Nervous, too. Now that I've put it out there, will people ask how it is coming along? Will the work I produce be so differnt that people who like my other work, hate this other stuff? I have no idea. But, I know whatever I learn from these attempts will/should make me a better artist. At least I hope so. Please, wish me luck!! But, be patient, I'm not starting any of this until after my show in Dallas the first weekend in October!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Colorful Nights and other images

When I first started painting night time starry pictures, they were quite dark--like the night, duh! Then, I added more highlighting to the night skies. But that wasn't enough. I started going for a tad more color in the rest of the piece. And, then, this week, BANG, even more color in the night times (along with some extra punches of color in everything else I seem to be turning out!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Do You Have a Favorite?

Today one of my collectors responded to an email I sent that had included about 9 new images of new art for his review. He said he and his wife like several of them a lot but they wanted to know which were my favorites before they decided. And, I was stumped. Because I don't really have favorites.

I'll be thrilled with a certain element of a piece or a solution to a mistake/technical difficulty. Or I'll like the way two new colors lay nicely next to each other, maybe with a hint of a third color--ones I haven't used together before. But, over all, I don't have favorites. I realize that certain pieces look good together when grouped together--for instance, these starker single structure pieces like the piece above.

So when my collector asked, I really couldn't answer right away. If I were the one acquiring a piece of art, I'd pick the one I liked the best--not caring a hoot if the artist liked it a lot or not. But, while my walls are chock full of art, I wouldn't put myself in the collector category. So, maybe this guy has something. Maybe he thinks that the piece (s) I like best will lead my work in that direction and he will have a "first off". I don't know--but now I have to sit and look at the images I sent him and try to figure out which one is my favorite---I'm thinking it is sort of like picking an ice cream flavor--there are definite ones I wouldn't order but many I'd be happy with. Which is why, on the very few occasions when I go to get an ice cream (I'm weird and only like ice cream when it is below 75 and above 45 degrees outside), I take forever trying to chose my flavor. Cuz I like a lot of them.

If you are an artist and read this blog, do you have favorite pieces of your own work? Do you know why you like them? Just curious.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Art Show Entry Fee

I've always just assumed the cost of applying to shows to be a cost of business. Daniel Grant's article in the Huffington Post points out some of the inequities of the art show world--if you are interested. Here's the link: or click on the title of this blog post to go there!

Friday, September 10, 2010


I did it again. And I still can't quite believe I did. I cancelled a show. The Peoria Art Guild Fine Art show that takes place the last weekend in August. I feel relieved that I don't have to crunch as much to get ready for the show but I feel horribly guilty for cancelling. I've only cancelled 3 shows in the 11 years I've been doing shows. This one and 2 others. In both the other cases, I simply sold so well that I didn't have enough inventory to bother with the trip. In those cases, it was a last minute--well, last week, thing. I cancelled the Monday after the really killer shows. This time, there are still 2 weeks remaining but I'm low on inventory that I think will sell there--things with a more midwestern sensibility like my starker barns and such. And I'm itching to get back into the studio to create art, not just produce. I've got some big ideas I intend to explore this fall and winter. And I'll share with you both my success and failures. Promise. But, in the mantime, I'm gonna wallow in my guilt a little longer. Sorry, Peoria.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Music From Angel Fire

2 of Ida's dogs
(Ida Kavafian, artist director and "fiddle" player, leading one of the doggy hikes--she also raises champion vizslas!)

I know. I've not been posting. And, I promise I will get better. But the reality is that it is pretty unlikely for the next week. Currently, the Music From Angel Fire chamber music festival is taking place in Angel (and some surrounding towns). And, it makes for a very busy time. Between going to many of the concerts and getting in some studio time, we've had out of town visitors, catching up to do with some of the musicians, an almost daily hike with musicians and friends, a golf tourney, friends over for dinner, etc. I'm sure I couldn't keep this pace for any length of time. 2 1/2 weeks of the festival is plenty!

What amazes me most about this festival is that it takes place here. We are a pretty little place but really not on the map, so to speak. Then we get the MOST amazing musicians who come and participate in the festival. They are an inspiration to pursue excellence in whatever field you work in! I thank them for being here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost Church

This church was one of the first ones I ever painted. It was the basis for my first Collector's Guide ad. And this is the only photo I have of it. And I can't find it. Twice this summer, Rees & I have driven out of our way to look for it so I could get more images to work from. Nope. Not there. Nada. It used to be located near the Los Pinos river. To get there, you go into Colorado near Antonito and turn left onto a dirt road that tracks back into New Mexico. But the church is gone. I never got the name of it and I don't know the name of the farming village that it was located in. And I don't know how to go about finding it. Maybe I'll take my lame-o photo--heavily laden with oil pastel smudges on the back and fixative on the front--and show it to someone at a nearby church. Maybe they'll be able to tell me what happened to it. Or, maybe someone who reads my occasional posts might have a better idea. Sure wish I could find it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crested Butte!

Crested Butte has the most amazing flowers of any mountain town I've ever been in!
This planter was behind my booth.
The crowds were enthusiastic and plentiful.
And how beautiful a venue for a show!
A corner of my wonky booth. It doesn't always pay to set up in the rain. The experience brought new meaning to the title "A River Runs Through It".

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Breckenridge Art Show

I thought my outfit matched my neighbor's fish pretty well. Don't you?
My booth from one side.
This is it from the other side!
Last weekend, Rees & I headed to Breckenridge, CO, where we did another art show. Weather was good--if not threatening at times, neighbors nice, sales decent, and only a few hours from home. It is a show I'll do again. The promoters even used one of my images for their print advertising (but I'd sold the piece 2 weeks before in Angel Fire!) Tomorrow, off to Crested Butte. This time I hope to remember my camera cord, etc!!!