Posts Tagged ‘painting’

happy home ~ 2

Posted in art, beginnings, Fredericksburg, home, journey, travelComments Off on happy home ~ 2

So my winter migration is complete and I have settled back into my Texas home /studio.

When I’m here, I get to reconnect with printmaking, an art form near and dear to my heart. I actually started out as a printmaking major and was 2 years into the program before I started painting. I ended up with a double major, not being able to choose. I must admit, choosing a major was a real botheration to me as I wanted to keep on playing and exploring as many creative processes as I could. I loved photography and ceramics and it seemed limiting at the time to focus on just one, but that’s the way school works. So I chose painting primarily to learn about color as intimately as possible. And it helped with my printmaking, because you need to know how to mix colors and what layers of colors are going to do to understand what will happen on a print. Unlike painting, there is a great deal of thinking ahead and I liked the process and discipline of that thought process. My favorite form of printmaking is the monotype – the most painterly of printmaking types, and that makes sense for me, considering my love of painting. The spontaneity suits me, the painterly feel as well. But unlike a painting, the surprise element when you pull a print off the press ,for better or for worse, it’s never quite exactly what you thought you were going to get. And when it’s better than  what you anticipated, it’s like Christmas morning – both  a wonder and a surprise.

These are the things I most appreciate about making art and it’s a mirror of how I like to live my life. Filled with wonder and surprise. Migrating back and forth like this shakes  up my routines , forces me to be in a different mind set and environment, seeing again with fresh eyes. We need to give ourselves time and space to play and expose ourselves to a place or space where the unpredictable can happen.


” For whatever you’re doing for your creative juices, your geography has a hell of a lot to do with it. “Neil Young


Taos tripping

Posted in explore, friends, journey, memory, nature, time, travelComments Off on Taos tripping

Usually around June, like a migrating bird, I start leaning towards Taos, New Mexico.

I must have been around 27 years old when I first learned of Taos. At the time I was hosting a weekly life drawing group out of my home/studio in Kansas City. Gosh it was a great group of women, one of which went on at great length one week about her recent trip to Taos, where she attended a week long watercolor group. My dear friend Maureen and I were mesmerized by her stories and made a vow to go that following year. Not only did we go that year, but for 15 subsequent years thereafter, we made it our annual painting trip. I recall only one year where we had a break – that was a post miserable divorce for me when I was stone cold broke, and during her husband’s kidney transplant. It was always the highlight of my year and I think hers as well. Eventually we abandoned the workshops altogether and simply went on our own.

If you have never had a great painting buddy as an artist, I can’t really explain the kinship. Nor can I relate the connection or bond you develop with a place. And that’s what it was like for  us and Taos.

So, here it is June, and here I go again. Sadly not to meet up with Maureen to paint, but happily to be with another dear friend and old neighbor, Victoria. Almost 10 years ago when I lived in Taos, Victoria lived across the road in her sweet domed house. Life on the Arroyo Hondo mesa, on the outskirts of Taos proper, was rugged and windblown but magnificently beautiful. Easily the most beautiful place I have ever lived. As always with these beautiful places I have been privileged to live in though – winter came. Cold, wind and the dreaded snow.

But New Mexico got in and stayed in my blood.

” …become intoxicated by this irresistible high-altitude landscape they now share with previous generations of settlers. As Georgia O’Keefe once wrote:”

“If you ever go to New Mexico, it will itch you for the rest of your life.” 


McKenzie …

Posted in dogsComments Off on McKenzie …

A while ago I did a post on Above Average Dogs, and my history with animal portraiture. I finished the portrait I talked about this week, and thought I’d share it. Why? Because she’s beautiful! Another above average dog goes to a good home.


Above Average Dog

Posted in 7 deadlies, dogs, time2 Comments

I stopped doing dog commissions about 7 years ago. I had become ‘the dog artist’, and it felt like a dead end.

Dogs had been my subject matter for so long, and my best dog ever, Stella , my muse  – had died. I did not know how deeply her absence would affect me until I realized I could not do one more dog painting. So I moved on to work that came from completely different places in my heart.

But recently, I was contacted by one of those many, many, lovely people who had commissioned me in the past for a portrait, to do a companion piece of his new dog, to hang beside the old (sadly, deceased ) dog.  Before I could stop , I heard myself saying YES.  Then I panicked, thinking – I don’t know if I can even go back there. Why , oh why did I agree to this? But having committed to it,  I just started to paint my way out of it. The painting came together so quickly, it even surprised me. But I was working from a less than helpful photograph and found over the course of a few days that I needed to consult with the client for advise and help. Five or ten years ago, sending instant messages with a photo on an iPhone was not even an option. But as we emailed back and forth,  I would draw a correction, change the back round color, send it in a snap and make changes immediately.  We were working TOGETHER on the painting! Something I never would have done in the past – not because technology was not there yet, but because I was more territorial about my art years ago. It was MY painting. MY interpretation. MY vision.  My ego. I was shocked that this collaboration did not bother me in the least. In fact, I was very much enjoying pleasing my client and finding our way together to the happy end of the portrait.

Which leads me back to my muse, Stella.  My above average dog. These wonderful creatures we love so much and hold so close to our hearts, have a way of drawing us together and  perhaps making us better humans in the end.  They are always ‘above average dogs’ to us.  I learned  we can be ‘above average humans’ to each other as well… with very little effort.