Welcome! This blog began as an assignment in a digital art class. That was in 2008. I decided to keep it going as my art journal. It is fascinating for me to see how a painting develops, so this is where I post my painting progressions and exciting new things I find on creative blogs and websites. I hope you will learn along with me about painting, drawing and all kinds of art.


Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you a very Happy Holiday!

The idea for our Christmas/Holiday card this year was 
stolen borrowed from Matt's gorgeous Loon carving.
I decided to make a block print and didn't have any linoleum block left 
(well I have some large sheets that I am saving for another use) 
so I asked Matt if he had any wood I could use.
He gave me a nice board of Yellow Cedar!

This is the wood cut block and piece of glass I used to spread the paint.

It turned out fairly nicely, a little messy when I printed the cards, and to fit in a legal-size envelope, the size of the cards made me have to cut off part of the whole-bird print, but it turned out ok (you can see some of the cards printed in the middle photo).

Just wanting to take this time to thank you for looking in at my blog. I always love to hear your comments and have a chat.

Cheers! Happy painting, or carving!


Clouds, podcasts and more Working Birds (Loon!)

I know you guys or some of you anyway, listen to podcasts while you paint. Me too. One of my favorite podcasts is Savvy Painter.  That link takes you to painter/host Antrese Wood's latest one - her interview #2 with Tony Peters. It was a fun interview with discussions of how to stay focused, and working out (i.e. exercise) to help with that (of which I am in favor, because it works! I was actually working out -biking- while listening to it).

They did discuss painting clouds and I had just finished a quick little cloud painting!

This is the painting underway on my easel and the newspaper photo that inspired it:

Gold Dust Clouds     oil on Arches Huile paper     6 x 8 inches

The interesting thing to me about this painting was that I had been working on a frame with some Iridescent Gold acrylic and I, on a whim, put a bit on some Arches oil paper ... 

... so while painting my clouds, I allowed a little of the gold (dust) to peek through. 
The half-inch frame for this is painted with some of that gold, too.

Clouds are good things to paint and I will paint more of them.

Ok, on to more Working Birds! (That link is Matt's WorkingBirds facebook page ... check it out!)

Common Loon + chick       carved from alder wood by Matthew H Robus
 Isn't this JUST FABULOUS???  Oh my gosh, I love it so much. 
The chick is actually held on by a magnet that Matt embedded in the back of the adult loon!
Thank you for checking in on this little blog. 

Enjoy your holiday season! 


Busy Gallery Walk December First Friday - Juneau!

Before talking about First Friday ...

I had mentioned that I wanted to show you
 my studio painting Reading at the Lake (I renamed it Solitude) in situ.
So! - here is a photo of it
on my dear friend Julia's Pilates studio wall.  With the frame it is now about 32" x 44".
I am very happy with it! (She loves it too!)

The poplar frame is beautiful, made by my hubby 
and the canvas is set flush with the molding (kinda floating) with no rabbet.
 I put honey pine satin over a honey satin stain (both Minwax Polyurethane); 
we backed it with some brown paper, put the wire on it and voila!

 Ok, so this past Friday in Juneau a huge happening happened! The December Gallery Walk is the biggest First Friday Art Walk of the year. Juneau's Front Street was closed to traffic and people were dancing in the streets and everyone was out having fun looking at and buying art. What could be a better gift than a piece of original art?

My two plein air paintings (below) will be hanging the month of December in the 
Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Gallery 
along with all the other calendar entries in the Plein Rein 2016 Calendar Exhibit.

My painting Gruening Cabin Beach is the May calendar entry, and I must admit that it is stunning to see all the original paintings after viewing the small versions in our calendar. 
The calendars, several notecards and a few prints are available 
at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council front counter.

Gruening Cabin Beach + Fisherwoman      oil on linen panel    8 x 10 inches
Incoming Tide at Eagle Beach      oil on Arches Huile paper   8 x 12 inches
 Last check, the Eagle Beach painting had a red dot!

And one more thing before I go. My husband Matt's Working Birds small bird carvings are available (for purchase and commission)
at the Juneau Artists Gallery and here are a couple of photos for you.

Hmmm....thought I cropped them, but oh well. This Rufous Hummingbird (female) sold on Friday! And of course you know the second little carving is a Black-Capped Chickadee.

His little bird carvings are so great 
but I also have to brag on him a bit and show you more of his larger work next time I post!

Thank you for checking in - happy painting and viewing!



Jerseys in pastel

Some time ago (1 or 2 years), my folks sent me a birthday card with a photo 
of my favorite cows on it.
Jersey cows!
I knew I wanted to do a painting of Jerseys one day, so I saved the card. 
The day came this past August when I felt like painting a pastel of the cows.

I used blue Canson pastel paper. My easel is tipped forward just a bit to allow the pastel dust to fall straight down and not on the paper.

A portion of the birthday card is at the top right of this photo. There were other cows in the photo and I chose these two sweet bovines.

Tiny thumbnail sketch

 Charcoal sketch set with alcohol (with grid).

Jerseys      9.75 x 10.5 inches    pastel

The photographer who took the photo and made the cards was Darlene Leonard-Maguire. I "found"
her, got in touch and asked if I could post this painting on my blog and she gave me the go-ahead.

Thanks so much Darlene! Best of luck with your photography and your painting.

... and thanks to all of you for checking in to view my art.


Plein air to studio painting, finished!

Back to the studio painting I have been working on ... the frame is even done!
Below: the rest of the progression. (cont. from post of 10/9)

 Just so you, who may want to do commissions, are aware ...
your client may want changes. I showed my friend the piece and she
did want some changes.
I had the water quite purple, (I was thinking about the colors she liked: greens, purples, browns, mauves) but she did want the lake to be on the blue side, and the mountain to have a bit more brown. I also took out the purple in the sky and liked it MUCH better. She wanted more leaves - I agreed.
I showed this to my salon friends and they suggested more texture to the trunk and that also went well. After a few more tweaks, I said - finished! One could just paint on and on ... but there's a point of no return I think ... and it might be too much.

Reading at the Lake    24 x 36 inches     oil on canvas
 Think the values work ok.

 Here is the original again. 6 x 8 inch plein air. Is the studio painting as fresh and free as the original? I am not sure. I am saturated by both right now.

The frame Matt (husband, carver and frame-maker) made looks wonderful! 
Painting is floating in the frame. I finished it with a Walnut Gel Stain and 
topped it with a one-step Honey-Satin Stain + Polyurethane.

 When it is hanging in my friend's studio
I will take a photo and post it.

Now to get to house-cleaning, preparing for guests.
We have all the kids (+plus 1 puppy dog) coming for Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all a very peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are!

(and thank you so much for clicking on my art blog)


Charlotte the Cat, a painting

My daughter commissioned this painting for her friend as a wedding present.

This is the progression of the painting from a photo:

charcoal grid drawing

grisaille, kind of

Charlotte the Cat       8 x 6         oil on Arches Huille Paper
 b & w

the damage

Astonishing size of this cat! The girl is of a normal-size, like 5'3" or so. 
This little painting was fun to do. Husband made a 1/2" frame that I painted black.

The wedding symbolism is the two bowls in the corner.

Thank you so much for viewing my art!


October Carnations

It is raining.

But that is normal for this SE Alaska Rainforest.
This is my world.
Image from http://www.theearthconnection.org

But, it is quite cold rain, so as promised, 
here are phots of the bouquet, and the support I painted on.

The panel was something I had begun and abandoned. Take good note, do not toss your unfinished panels ... you just never know ...

By the way, this painting has sold! (To a wonderful artist and friend and perhaps I will feature her here on this blog one day, if she wants.)
Very exciting. Now to figure out the frame. Anyone want to volunteer ideas? 
Width, color(s)?


Painter's Salon (+ my 600th blogpost !?!)

Oh man! Really can't believe this post is the 600th one! I love posting on this blog
and just goes to show, "Time flies - - - -!"  One of my favorite posts over these years is 
This from 2011.

Last night I hosted our art salon, first one in a couple of years! We all agreed that we must have them more regularly again. We really do benefit from them ... at least I do.

The way we hold ours is like this and of course there is food!

  1. The person who hosts makes a main dish and then it's pot luck for the rest
  2. People bring 4 to 6 paintings they would like to show, either for feedback or advice
  3. The one "rule" we try to follow is this:
  • Try not to say LIKE/LOVE when commenting on the painting. This is harder than it sounds ... of course there is no penalty if you DO! 
It is way more helpful for the artist if you give a more
detailed account of concerns or why you like or are questioning part of the work.

Wish I could show my friend's paintings because they were awesome! Here is one I just posted on my fb cover. It was a blast to do. I had a bouquet of Carnations and took a break from painting my 24 x 36 w-i-p and this came flowing off the brush.

October Carnations          Oil on Masonite        15.75 x 13

Next post I will show you the actual bouquet and the support this was painted on! Also I will report more progress about the big painting. (Got some great advice about it last night and now I will proceed and it will be finished soon!)

thanks so much for viewing


90th Birthday Celebrations!

Just returned from a great trip to Oregon to celebrate my Dad's 90th Birthday! 
He doesn't look 90, nor does he act 90! I am so lucky!

I took him (& Mom) this painting I did while visiting in June:

Home    8 x 10 inches    plein air oil on prepared birch panel

 Matt made the frame, I stained it with ebony (sort of gray) 
and it turned out nicely. Also gave a print to each sibling (2).

I thought I had posted this painting before but I guess not. 

 The roses were still blooming! My darling mother is too!

While we were in Oregon we drove to the beach! This is Pacific City.

Ok, guess I'd better get back to work.

Thanks for checking in!


Painting - from little to big

One would think that it shouldn't be too hard to take a small painting and enlarge it ... 
 however, it does take some planning!

This painting
 is 6 x 9
(a plein air - done in Kelowna, BC at a park on the shores of Lake Okanagan)

This canvas
is 24 x 36

Here are some shots of my progress so far:

You might have noticed that the park bench is much too small. I hadn't seen it, but my husband came in and politely pointed it out to me. I will fix.

I wanted to see what other painters might say about 
the process of painting a larger piece from a plein air study.

Painter Kathleen Dunphy says that, "While the best plein air paintings have a life of their own that can never be repeated, studio works that are painted with the same degree of interest and discovery can convey their own unique story to the viewer."  This is the link to that blog post.

Do you enlarge your plein air studies/paintings from time to time? 
I would love to hear any tips that help you in this process.


Show Your Work! Chapter 10 + triptych fini

Raft of Scoters     8x8 inches    oil on prepared panel
The painting above is my very latest sketch - I loved the gigantic raft (probably several thousand) of scoters (sea ducks) that were gathered on the ocean on a recent misty fall day, 
getting ready to head south.
(Sheesh, I've had this draft post for so long ... but it has been long on my mind as well - lately I don't have too much of a schedule, so blogging goes by the wayside. But summer is over and I am ready to be more of a routine blogger, whatever that means.)

Today I will talk a little about what I took away 
from the last chapter 
in the book I've been reading -
Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon.

The chapter title is:
Stick Around.
 The point of this final chapter is to just keep going. 
Many times you just feel bad, not motivated, not enjoying your life
so you stop working on what might be a tough spot in a painting, or in your writing, or potting, or sculpting or ... That's ok. 
Taking a break is fine, but get back to it and push through.
Just know that you will have learned something from the push.
It might be a breakthrough, 
or a peek into something completely new. 
From A.K. - "Even if you try to toss it aside, the lessons that you've learned from it will seep into what you do next."

At the end of his book, one of the to-do's that A.K. suggests 
is to plan a "Show Your Work!" night. 
Well, ahem ...
A few years ago a couple of friends and I held a salon. Just three of us. We showed our work to each other and asked for help if we needed it. Working independently as we do - it was great to have "new eyes" to see things we have missed, to confirm that there is a problem spot and maybe what to do about it. Or just say Bravo to a work well painted!

We are holding another salon in a few weeks. I'm very excited to exchange and discuss ideas about art ... 

however, unlike the salons in the 17th century, 
 I shall not have my guests gather around my bed to chat ... that is what they did then!

Oh, and here is the triptych -
finished, before it was taken apart to live as three instead of one.

Calm Retreat - Lynn Canal View        34 x 68 inches       Oil on gallery-wrapped canvas

And here it is at delivery and then how it looks in situ.

And lastly, posing with my collector :)
... really gives it a sense of scale.

This painting was extremely challenging, but incredibly fun and I  learned so much about painting from small studies to a large canvas (or three!). 

Thank you Judy!