Dear painters, art aficionados, and art explorers everywhere. I would never have guessed this journal would keep my interest for so long! Join me as I learn about the processes of painting, drawing and at times, the history of art.
My website is:


Plein air painting at the Juneau Community Gardens

 Hi readers!

Summer zipped by and I got a few paintings done (both plein air and studio).
I am sharing today about the painting I finished when
my friend Patrick and I met at the Juneau Community Gardens in July. 
The gardens were growing well: garlic, flowers, rhubarb, carrots, etc.

You can't really tell but it was raining pretty steadily and hard so we were under
 shelter where the garden's events are held. Pretty sweet.

I narrowed my focus down to this scene with those bright lilies.

pochade box with painting and palette

Crimson Lilies 
(Juneau Community Garden)
7" x 9" as framed
oil on Multimedia Artboard

It has a 1/2" wood frame (made by MHRobus) stained 
with Danish fruitwood oil

I am very happy to say that this painting is featured in the
 Juneau Plein Rein Painters 2024 calendar - September! 
Pick one up if you can find one. They do sell out fast.
Check the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Lobby shop and Davis Gallery(?).

Wow, I haven't done this blog for awhile! If you found it on my website menu, that
is great ... and if it found you (because you follow me on "" - which i set up awhile ago) that is super good, and 
if it did find you and you have a few minutes, here is my website 
address to check out if you haven't been there, or haven't been there for awhile:

ps This painting will be up on my website soon!

Thank you so much for reading this!

Happy painting, happy collecting, and stay healthy and safe.



Update to a past painting


Hi readers of this long lost Studio Journal!
I appreciate you checking in.

Things have been busy and I have not worked on this
for some time.
But I wanted to repost this one since I am publishing the painting to my
So from here on this was written in 2018. Enjoy!

Geez, I'm definitely not the best blogger
in the world.
I had to go back and correct some things on this blog
from past challenges
I haven't posted about our Salon Challenge #6!

Which was:

We all found a poem which we thought
might inspire a painting and threw those into a hat.
Breakage, by Mary Oliver was chosen ... 

(side note, Barbara and I chose the SAME poem!!!!!)

So there were really 3 different poems in the hat.

It was my turn to choose parameters for the challenge
- which were:

                      1 - paint a non-objective abstract 
                                                        (cannot see recognizable "things" in the painting)
2 - unlimited palette
3 - unlimited size     

The poem, read out loud felt just right for me to use Cold Wax Medium with my oils,
and yes, layers - many layers.
 I learned a thing or two during this whole process. 
Moonsnails have a romantic name, and are quite pretty
but they are a predatory snail
eating mostly bivalves
such as clams, mussels and scallops. They drill a hole
and "suck out" the bivalve!

Drew some sketches to get in the mood.

I prepared my board with gesso mixed with Iridescent Gold acrylic

With the idea of a shell with whorls, I wrote the poem on my board in waxy pencil.

My palette (I think): aliz crimson, sap green, ultram blue, transp oxide red + white

 The following photos (I remembered!) are progress shots.

Thought I would try to save some words, but it didn't work.

 Tried again ...

 Arghhh ... and again
(I really wanted to have some of the writing showing thru ...)

The final below. 
After the reveal we were deciding on final viewing direction.
We came upon this and
I like it.

Edge of the Sea     
CWM & oil on panel prepared with gesso mixed with iridescent gold acrylic 
words applied with black wax pencil     
16 x 14 inches
with 3/4" frame 17 1/2" x 15 1/2"
wood frame is painted white

Thank you for checking this blog! 
I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and words in
the comments at the end of the posts.

Feel free to check our other challenges, too, 
from the lists on the right side in the "blog archive" list.

I still have to post the most recent challenge: #7
and then we are on to our final challenge.


(Ok, that was from several years ago. I wanted to list this painting on my website, and thought it would be fun to have a link to the story of the painting for those who wanted to

Since that time I did begin and am still working on, my website. Please feel free to ask any questions about any painting you see there.

alll the best,


My blogiversary celebration continues ...

 ... during its 15th year!

To continue to celebrate, I decided to interview an artist. 
When I began to think about who I wanted for my very first interview, 
I really didn't have to think too hard
because this person popped into my mind quickly.
I am so honored she agreed to this. I am happy to introduce you to:

Cristine Crooks

I believe that everyone is born an artist and if they are lucky, discover early which of the arts will enrich their life. I am a visual artist. I probably discovered my love for the visual arts in elementary school because I still remember the excitement of painting large murals for school plays, and glueing popcorn onto paper to make blooming apricot trees. I explored art in high school and college and earned a teaching degree and a BA in Art. I always used art in my teaching and spent many years working with other like-minded educators to train Alaska teachers on how to incorporate the arts into their classrooms. Now as a retired person I especially enjoy plein air painting and keeping illustrated travel journals. 

-  Cristine Crooks, February 2023, Douglas, Alaska

Without further ado, as everyone says, here is the interview.

1 - What are the mediums (ie pastel, oil, acrylic, etc)

that you work in and love? 

I am basically an eclectic artist. I have tried many mediums and find that I like to use different mediums for different things. When I travel I keep a small journal, so a very small watercolor kit, a mechanical pencil, and a brush with a barrel I can fill with water, works just about anywhere, even on a plane. When I paint outside, if it’s not too wet, I love pastel. Inside in my studio I play around with oil paints; alkyd because I’m impatient. But I also really love to collect papers and magazine clippings and do collage. And I love crafting handmade books. I have a BS in Art, (craft) which involved a little bit of everything. So being eclectic and trying new things suits my style.

2 - How do you name your paintings?

I try to follow the advice that Fairbanks artist Kes Woodward gave us

at a Plein Rein workshop a few years back. He suggested before we begin

our painting we ask ourselves what we’re trying to say. I try to do this and

call this my working title. Kes was right; having a working title helps focus

me on a few specific things in the landscape. It helps with my choices of

composition and color palette. Sometimes, though, paintings evolve and

I choose a title by what the painting is saying. I reserve the right to change

the title right up until the day I have to make a label for a show. 

3 - When you paint en plein air, what size do you prefer to work with?

What surface?

I like to get a good start on my paintings when I’m at a location so 12 x 9 or 9 x 7 is a pretty good size for me. Once I thought I’d get back into the studio and make larger paintings from the “studies” I did plein air. But I’ve come to love the plein air paintings just for their spontaneity and even sometimes, their unfinished look. I love all the new pastel surfaces that have a tooth to hold the pastel and are sturdy enough to take a light watercolor wash. Clairefontaine pastelmat is my current favorite and it comes in a variety of colors. 

4 - Do you have a favorite color?

Green, I’m partial to a lovely spring green or chartreuse. 

5 - Do you have a favorite painting from history?

Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”.

6 - Who are your art heroes (living & in history)?

Some of my earliest memories of art were from illustrations in books, and W.C. Wyeth was an early hero. His work was so full of energy, color and emotion. I love photography and admire the black and white nature images of Ansel Adams. As I studied more art I loved the female artists who persevered against the odds, like Artemisia Gentileschi, Georgia O’Keefe, Mary Cassatt, and Sister Corita/ Corita Kent. And as I started studying a particular medium I discovered art heroes who were trying things that interested me like Wolf Kahn (pastel), Milton Avery (form and simplification) and Joaquín Sorolla (sunlight).

7 - Who are you inspired by currently?

Actually during the past few years I have needed to kick start my creativity

and found online art classes at Winslow Art Center and Carla Sonheimhave wonderful artists in a variety of media. I like the multimedia artist

Anita Lehmann, who challenges learners to improvise, explore, and design.

It was just what I needed to find a way to be more playful and less worried

about the finished work.

8 - You are unarguably the leader of Juneau’s plein air painting group “Plein Rein”,

why is this group important to you? (Do you LIKE to herd cats?)

Thank you. I fear I became the organizer mostly because I don’t mind using

a computer and someone had to send out updates and reminders. I have the

honor of being one who has been a Plein Rein Painter since 2001.  Over the

20+ years we’ve had lots of artists paint with us and it’s the generosity of them

sharing their work and being interesting companions in the field that make

me happy to help. Covid did seriously slow down our ability to get together,

so I think it helped me see how important having a group of creative spirits

is to my own creative journey. We’ve traveled together, had exhibits together

but mostly, just showing up together outside, sparks my desire to do more art.

9 - What is your superpower?

This is a very interesting and modern question. I never really thought that I had any particular superpower. But reflecting on what keeps me going I think I am resilient.

10 - How can people find you and your work?

I have not been good at keeping my blog updated; but this is a good incentive

to get things going again. PleinRein2020 My email is

Thank you so much, Cristine!

Your answers and your beautiful work illustrate how dedicated you are to your art,

and you are very inspiring as well to me and many others.

The Last Bit of Light
2022 pastel
9" x 12"
by Cristine Crooks

Thank you for reading!

Teri's website


Portraits 24 & 25 (& Fini!)

Hugo E. Robus, Jr.
(My husband's father, 1942)

I have come to the end (pretty much)
of my portrait explorations from tiny b&w photos
in the Shaw Field yearbook for the Army Air Forces Training Center, class of 1942.

For a refresher as to what I am talking about, 
the link 👇 will take you to the first post in the project.

I had decided that my final portrait would be of Matt's dad. But it had been awhile
since painting those portraits,
so I warmed up by painting another one first.

Robert L. Simpson, Cadet

I didn't put as much of a gap in his teeth as he actually had ... when
I tried, it just looked weird.

To begin Matt's father's portrait, I made a charcoal sketch of him, 
and used fixative to set the charcoal.
I used a hair dryer to dry the casein fixative, a pump bottle by SpectraFix.

My palette, ready to go. 

 I only took two progress photos.

Hugo E. Robus, Jr.

Ok, I think I am finally saturated with painting portraits from
the Shaw Field yearbook. 

It was very good practice, though, to paint a portrait from a tiny black & white photo. 
Admittedly, some of the pictures are wacky
but that is how I felt like doing them. 
There are some I really like, others I don't.

I asked Matt (my hubby) what actually was the color
of the cap, shirt and tie. He told me they were probably khaki, with the tie being
a darker brown, or black. So I tried to be true to that for these last two.

I tried to make a nice photomontage of the portraits, but could not figure out how
to do 25 of them ... so this is just a sampling of about half.
(I used Canva ... but did not really know what I was doing.)

It is so cool to see even these few together.

Please share this post if you know someone who might be interested. 

Cheers! and take good care!

Teri ðŸŽ¨


I forgot one!


Not exactly sure how it happened, 
but as I counted the portraits from my
I had 23 in my hands, but only 22 entries were listed in this journal (blog).
(to refresh your memory, the link 👆 takes you to the beginning of my project).

Some digging led me to find that it was Lieutenant Owen's portrait, 
one of the "Flying Officers", that was missing. 

Here are the few painting progress photos:

Lieutenant Randolph K Owen
oil on Multimedia Artboard
8 x 6 inches

I am presently working on my most recent portrait of one of the
aviation cadets, Hugo E. Robus (my husband's father)!

... And I will make a post when finished. (This is going to be very 
challenging because the resemblance is really going to matter!!!)

Stay tuned!
Thanks so much for following along
in this studio journal
with me!

 Please hop on out to my website, too - this blog is reachable through
that as "Studio Journal" on the menu bar.

 Feel free to forward to anyone you think might be interested, 
and here is a link to sign up for my ~ monthly newsletter I call Studio News.

The menu line reads, "Keep In Touch".


Sincerely yours in art,



15th Blogiversary!

Time to
Celebrate! 🎈

 In 2008 I published my first blogpost on this day. It is here but I will not be
encouraging you to read it ... very dated.

I have been painting fairly steadily ever since that first
blogpost and do not see any reason to stop.

To celebrate my 15th year of blogging (and making art), I am going to have a guest
artist on this blog! I don't think I have ever done that before.

Stay tuned for that post coming in the near future. For now, for today, I will share a couple progress shots of my recent painting.

A few days ago I heard a podcast (there were not too many of those in 2008) about an artist who will be 92 years old this May and still making work. She doesn't do the kind of art I do,
or enjoy, really ... she is considered by some the "Mother of Photorealism" -
But her voice impressed me and so I looked her up and found a video interview with her by her high school friend, Ronnie Eldridge. Produced by CUNY tv (City University of New York) about a year ago when she was 91.

I took some screen shots of her and studied her as she spoke.
Here is my journey painting her portrait:

I decided to use this shot for my portrait.
She does not look 91 does she?
It is my wish to be just like her at that age.

Next I did a study sketch.

A little back-story about the panel I used. It was an experimental
piece that I painted over so there is lots of texture!
Here is the underpainting.

Anyway, I thought I was finished, and sat with her
for a bit.
I realized I wanted to paint her very subtle earrings,
and I wanted the window behind her shoulder
to be a bit larger for more light for the cactus!

Audrey Flack at 91 
Oil on canvas panel
10" x 8"

I was going to post one of her photorealism paintings,
but you can look her up to see those if you are interested.

Thank you for reading this and if you have been reading
since 2008, a very big Bravo! to you.

For a little over a year now I have had a website
and to tell the truth,
I really enjoy it! 
There is still lots of work to do there; 
I need to add paintings, add more information about how to buy paintings, 
info about the shipping & handling, etc etc.

Here is my website address link:

and if you would like to keep in touch with me and my work, please feel
free to sign up for my newsletter "Studio News"  - link below: