Friday, January 29, 2010

Rainy Day Paintings

This is the diptych I painted on a rainy
day last week.  Oil on canvas.  They measure 36 x 12 inches each.  The title is still in the works.

The sunset has turned everything orange, and the clouds are an unbelievable, vibrant combination of orange, pink, and soft blue.  I took a photo, but you know it never looks quite the same.  (Maybe it would if I were a real photographer.)

"Most of us have two lives.  The life we live, and the unlived life within us.  Between the two stands Resistance."  ~Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.

Have a fantastic weekend, you darling things!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New journals

Hello everyone!  I spent my day making new journals.  It has been over a year since I made journals, I think.  Can you believe it?  It was fun, and I got to try out some of my new transfers.  I have two journals listed for sale in my etsy store, as well as a number of the new fabric transfers.  I don't know when I will have a chance to make journals again, but I will try to get them all listed on etsy this week.  If you need a pretty little book to put your dreams, poems, sketches or recipes in, you just might need one of these journals.  I am almost out of the fabric I used for these journals, so I guess it's time to hunt the thrift stores again.  Most of the things I use to make these journals are re-purposed.  The fabric is all leftover from projects long past, as are the buttons and ribbon.  The paper is computer paper that was used to test the printer, so a few pages have colored printout on the edges.  They have a lot of character, these little journals.  The last time I made them, I had intended to save one for myself, but somehow that did not happen!  No one knows why.  So I might have to save one of these new ones, as a little gift to myself.

It has been awhile since I used my sewing machine, and boy do I really love it.  I am so glad I pulled it out and made use of it.  I do use it for regular jobs like hemming pants, patching holes, etc., but to get a chance to use it for fun was what today was all about.  I have decided that this year I will be making an effort to add more fun in my life.  This was inspired by my friend, Tina Bluefield.  (Hi Tina!)

Another thing I am doing for myself this year for adding fun will be to attend the Las Vegas Art and Soul Retreat.  It is next month, and I have signed up for two classes.  This retreat is way outside of my usual way of thinking about art, and that is why I wanted to do it.  Also, my good friend, Carla Sonheim, is teaching a couple of classes, and I wanted to see her.  I am even taking one of her classes!!!  I think it will be a great new adventure, and I am excited.

I am planning to get back to oil paint and canvas tomorrow, so new images will be posted shortly, I hope.   Thank you for stopping by, blog readers!

Monday, January 25, 2010


As promised, I have some photos of the new monotypes to share with you.   All three of them were hand pulled, using my trusty wooden spoon, and they measure 5 x 7 inches. 

This one I think I will call "Hot Air Balloons."

The warm desert sun has returned, and it is slowly drying up the mud puddles.  We have rain forecast for Wednesday, once again.  So much rain for this dry desert, we just don't know what to do with ourselves.  It is just the opposite of Colorado.  Here, they have to plow the gravel and sand off of the roads after a heavy rain.  The water washes the gravel and sand over the roads, making driving a challenge.  In Colorado, they plowed the snow off of the roads and ADDED sand and gravel for traction.  For some reason, that distinction has stuck with me.  When you are in a new place, it is the little differences that somehow seem more poignant.  I can't explain it.

This is a short, wimpy post, I know!  Just don't have much to say. 
This little Gold Cottontail I reworked in pastel after it had dried.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Painting and rain

Our weather has been most unusual and un-desert-like the past few days.  We have gotten almost 6 inches of rain!  I think that's twice the amount of rain we received for the entire year last year.  The air has been scrubbed clean by all of the rainfall, and the creosote bushes sparkle with tiny droplets of water clinging to their fuzzy seeds.  We have snow above 4,000 feet.  There are puddles everywhere, which Pono enjoys splashing in and drinking from.  (Despite my protests, he prefers muddy puddle water to the clean water I put in his bowl every morning.  Go figure.)

This one is called "El Nino" and measures 11 x 14 inches.

I have found the weather to be suitable for holing up in the studio with a hot cup of tea and my paintings.  I have begun a new series.  These new paintings are based on some ideas I had done in pastel a few years ago, and I wanted to try them in oil paint.  Here are just a few of them.

This one is called "Disturbance" and measures 30 x 24 inches.  The photo may be a little dark.
I am curious to hear feedback about these new paintings.  They are so different from what I was doing last year. 

I hope to get some of the new monotypes scanned today to post this weekend.  Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One day of life in the desert

Today was an eventful day here in the high desert.  It started out with a soggy walk with the dog and M.  Along the way, I spied a fairly large lizard, frozen still.  It was half covered in mud.  We weren't sure if it was alive, so I gently touched the end of its tail with Pono's leash.  That touch was enough to cause the lizard to come to life, slowly releasing itself from the mud.  It was still cold outside, so the lizard hadn't warmed up much; its movements were strangely slow.  It looked primordial, raising its limbs high to free them from the heavy wet sand.  M suggested we move it out of the road, so he held the struggling, curious dog while I carefully picked up the lizard.  I was wearing gloves, but holding that lizard in my hands was a special feeling - like the first time you picked up a snake or lizard as a child.  I gently set it down, out of harm's way - near a clump of Mormon Tea, but out where the sun could warm its chilled body.  Can you believe this happened the ONE DAY I don't have my camera with me????!!!!???  Dagnabbit.  I have so wanted to post a fantastic lizard photo, and I blew it.  BLEW IT!  At least I can describe it to you.  Very cool desert encounter.

Next, we had one of the ugliest, mangiest coyotes EVER come for a visit at the house.  I was blow-drying my hair when I saw its reflection in the mirror.  It was right outside the bedroom sliding glass door.  I made the mistake of yelling "Oh my GOD!" and woke up the sleeping Pono, who, in his haste to get at it, crashed into the sliding glass door, barking furiously.  Needless to say, the mangy coyote did not linger.  Once again, no camera.  (what is the world coming to???)

Into the studio, where I became engrossed.  Once again, the sky darkened and the rain fell.  Such an amazing gift, to have TWO DAYS of rain IN A ROW!!!  We have gotten just a little over 2 inches of rain in two days!!!  Yeee-haaaw!  I did find myself staring out the window at the rain, when I spotted another really wet coyote, coming down the driveway.  This time I did grab my camera, and was able to run through the house and meet the young coyote in the backyard.  (well, I was looking through the window.)  It was picking up a stick I had tossed for Pono hours earlier, and if Pono had been awake, I know he would have been VERY upset about that.  It tossed the stick into the air and then loped off.  It seemed so dog-like that I had to remind myself that it WAS a coyote, wild as they come.  Crazy.

Here are some photos of the aftermath of all that rain.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I just spent two long days printing monotypes.  As soon as they are dry, I will post a few of them for you.  Hang in there!

I find that I can't just create art without periodically re-fueling my creative mind.  One of my favorite ways to re-fuel is reading fiction.  I love novels, particularly those with a female main character.  That isn't a pre-requisite, but I do relate to female characters more easily.  The book I just finished reading was a collection of short stories by Nadine Gordimer.  I haven't read any of her novels, but after reading the short stories, I will add that to my "books to read" list.  I am currently devouring Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune.  It doesn't seem to matter what time I crawl into bed, I cannot seem to turn out the light without picking up that book and reading until my eyelids are heavy.  I am also a big fan of National Geographic.  I love to read it in the morning with a cup of tea. 

Another way I like to fill up the creative jar is by watching movies.  We just saw Avatar in 3D on Friday, and for those of you who have not seen it, GO!  Go as soon as you can, and if possible, do try to see it in 3D, just because it is such an experience. We also recently watched a movie about Alice Neel, a favorite artist of mine.  It is called Alice Neel (attention, Lily), and is available with NetFlix.  It was directed by her grandson, and features quite a bit of dialogue from the great Neel herself, as well as interviews with her sons.  I found it incredibly inspiring. 

Of course, the best way to re-vamp is being in nature.  I love to be outdoors, and I love to take time to examine and appreciate nature in all of her glory and wonder.  Fresh air, exercise and a few scratching quail - what could be better?  I am fortunate to live in a place where nature is right outside my doorstep.  This desert is an awe-inspiring place, unlike any other place we have ever lived.  I feel incredibly fortunate, in so many ways.  Part of my job seems to require me to observe, and there is nothing I love to observe more than this world we live in. 
Here I am at Red Rock Canyon near Vegas.  Photo courtesy of M.

The final thing I do to prepare myself for making art is writing in my journal.  It is something I have done for a long time.  I had kind of let my journal go by the wayside, until I read Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way.  She reminded me of how much benefit can be gained by just letting the thoughts roll out onto paper, without censoring or fear.  If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it. 

What do you do to re-fuel?  I am always curious for other ideas I can add to my list. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010


My parents left yesterday, after being here for almost a week.  It was nice to have them come to the desert, since they live in Colorado where it has been quite cold.  They somehow managed to arrive for the most wonderful sunny, calm, balmy winter weather.  Now that they are gone, the wind is starting up and next week, rain may even fall!

It is interesting how having out of town guests seems to give us an excuse to finally visit some of the local attractions that we have wanted to see, but haven't quite made it.  The place we took Mom and Dad is called Gubler Orchids.  It is located about 25 minutes northwest of our house.  It is one of the nation's largest orchid growers.  It is a little surprising to find an orchid grower in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  Apparently, the desert is a great place to grow orchids, since there are four growing seasons, clean air and of course, plenty of sunshine.  I love orchids.  I love flowers of any kind, actually, but orchids have enchanted me ever since I first discovered they could be grown as a houseplant.  Gubler's is a seemingly endless line up of greenhouses, stuffed full of orchids of nearly every variety and color.  It is a lush, green haven for desert sore eyes.

You can take photos, go on a free tour of the facility, and of course, orchids are available to purchase.  I couldn't resist one miniature moth orchid with tiny nickel sized fuscia blooms.  The problem isn't deciding to buy an orchid, the problem is deciding which orchid!  I was lucky to get out of there with only one orchid.  I could have easily gotten into serious trouble.

The woman who lead us on our tour had an impressive wealth of orchid knowledge, but even more astounding was the way she walked backwards while talking to us about the orchids and the facility.  I would have tripped.  The visit was well worth the dusty 25 minute drive, and I hope to get back there before too long. 

Now I am anxious to return to my much neglected studio.  The paintings are piling up in my mind, and I must get started. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Not much to say.  Just make sure you stop over to my friend Tina Bluefield's newly created blog.

Happy New Year, everyone!  2010 - WOW!