Monday, July 26, 2010


My brain is clearly overrun with jackrabbits at the moment.  Here's another from my art journal.  Sitting Jack is acrylic, gesso and charcoal on paper, 12 x 9 inches.  He looks rather suspicious, doesn't he?  Did he just eat one of my plants? 
They are forecasting rain for tomorrow.   I don't want to get my hopes up, but I would LOVE seeing rain!  Tomorrow, my students are coming for a class on watercolor.  I am considering the possibility of adding one more class in the fall.  One thing about teaching other people to draw, it makes me draw more.  (I feel like I need to practice what I preach - "draw every day!")

Happy Monday, my darling readers.  I'm crazy about you, you know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We have a winner!

My friend Marjorie came over today and helped me choose a winner for the drawing.  Marylinn Kelly, you have won your own copy of Carla Sonheim's book, Drawing Lab for the Mixed Media Artist!!!!!  Congratulations!  Please send me an email with your mailing address, so we can get one sent off to you.   Thank you, everyone for stopping by, and for your comments.  I do so love the visits!

A hot, dry wind is blowing today, keeping the temps just a bit cooler (86 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:41 pm.)  The sun has just set, and I still have an unfinished painting on my easel. 

So, quickly, a jackrabbit from the sketchbook.  8 1/2 x 7 inches, Charcoal and gesso.  This was a study for "Surprise."  from last week's post.
Happy Thursday, everyone, and congratulations to our winner, Marylinn Kelly!  Thanks to everyone who participated. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


July in the desert.  Everyone is thirsty.
A Family of Gambel's Quail.
A Cottontail.
Antelope Ground Squirrel.
Cactus Wren.  My favorite desert bird.

There was a roadrunner drinking yesterday, but they are so dern fast, I didn't get a photo.  Maybe next time...

It's not too late for the giveaway of my friend Carla Sonheim's book!  For those of you who didn't read my last post, Carla featured some of my figurative art in her book.  It's called Drawing Lab for the Mixed Media Artist, but even if you aren't a mixed media artist, you will love the exercises in this book.  Sonheim's book features a number of talented artists, and of course you will get to see lots of her wonderful art, too.  So if you think you'd like a shot of winning a free copy, simply leave a comment, stating why you'd like to win.  The drawing is this Thursday.
Here is one of my pastel paintings featured in the book.

Have a terrific week, everyone!  As always, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


After several days of oppressive humidity and heat, today a thunderstorm finally crashed into our desert day.  Pono the dog is terrified of thunder, and has remained shivering and unhappy in the laundry room all day.  I had to go outside, feel the coolness of the wet air, and watch the lightening rip across the sky.  Thrilling!

Here is the first painting of the new series.  "Surprise."  Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches.
It's all about the ears, really.

I have some exciting news - some of my figurative work has been included in a book written by my friend (and amazing artist), Carla Sonheim!  The book is called Drawing Lab for the Mixed Media Artist, and it is available here.  Now for the surprise part - I am giving away a copy of this book right here on my blog!!!  You are most certainly wondering "how do I get a chance to win this book?"  It's easy!  Just leave a comment, explaining why you would like to own a copy of this book, and next Thursday, July 22nd, I will pick a winner from the comments.  So you have one week to leave a comment!  Good luck, and be sure to hop on over to Carla's blog for more book-related info, and to tell her Congratulations!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our Palo Verde Tree

When we moved into our house three years ago, there was a tiny palo verde tree in the front yard.  There wasn't much else there, except for sand and maybe a lizard.  My husband and I have since added other plants and some flagstone, not only to make it look better, but also to keep some of that sand from coming into the house.  I recently came across a photo of our palo verde, the way it looked the first spring we lived here.  I thought you might enjoy seeing how much it has grown since then.  This second photo was taken this spring, when this lovely tree was in full bloom and covered with bees.  This tree is one that I love in the spring, because when the yellow blossoms begin to drop, they carpet the front yard.  I like to sit under it and pretend I am in a desert fairy land.  (Active imagination goes right along with being an artist, you know.)

I did a bit of reading about the Palo Verde tree.  It is the state tree of Arizona, and the words palo verde are Spanish for "green stick" or "green wood."  That name no doubt comes from the green branches and trunk of this desert tree.  It can live to be 100 years old!  It is not native to our area, here in Joshua Tree.  The elevation of Joshua Tree is a little too high for this tree, and I have been told by the man at the local garden center that during a really cold winter, there is a chance this tree may not survive.  I hope that it does survive, because I am fond of it now.  Hopefully, with the protection of the adobe wall around our yard and the proximity to the house will shelter it somewhat.  At least I can enjoy it while it is thriving.

The thing that I find particularly ironic about this tree comes from my childhood.  I grew up in a small town in Western South Dakota called Rapid City.  (It is close to Mount Rushmore and Deadwood.)  We lived on the top of a hill, and our street was called "Palo Verde Drive."  There are no Palo Verde Trees in Rapid City, and there weren't that many Spanish-speaking people in our small Midwestern town.   In fact, the whole time I lived on Palo Verde Drive, I never knew what the words "palo verde" meant.  Now I am living in the Mohave Desert in Southern California and I have a Palo Verde Tree in my front yard!  Life is full of unexpected surprises, that's for sure. 

This week, I am hoping for more days in the studio, so I should have new paintings to show you soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 5, 2010


I hope everyone had a great fourth of July weekend.  We did here, although I wore myself out.  So instead of climbing up to the roof and watching fireworks from a distance as I had planned last night, I slept away most of the afternoon and evening.  Still, it wasn't a bad way to spend a holiday.  Sometimes, you just need to rest.

I was thumbing through a recent copy of ArtNews a couple of days ago, and happened to see an image of one of Rex Ray's collages.  If you are not familiar with his work, please do click on his name in the previous sentence and take a moment to browse his work.  I must admit that the images on his website do not really give a true impression of how his work is in person.  The one original work of Rex Ray's I have seen in person was quite large, and the scale made the colors and patterns even more impressive and ostentatious.  Nothing replaces seeing an artist's work in person.  At least you will have an idea of his work, despite the limitations of computer monitors.  Ray uses decadent color, which is probably what initially attracted me to his work.  He also has a wonderful sense of whimsy, and there is much about that I would like to have in my own work.  Ray's boldness inspires me!!! 

We continue to enjoy fairly mild temperatures here in Joshua Tree.  The desert is surprisingly green, for July. We are all bracing for the scorching summer temperatures, which will undoubtedly arrive sooner or later.   For now, we continue to enjoy cool morning walks and balmy evenings.  (As I write this, it is 81 degrees F at 9 pm.)

I leave you with a new painting of mine, which I called Cleopatra's Realm.  It is oil on canvas, measuring 40 x 30 inches.
This painting, too, is much better in person, although it pales in comparison to the work of Rex Ray.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Home again

We have returned from La Jolla with no major VW van mishaps.  I do not have any more scheduled shows or exhibits for the next two months, and I must admit that I am looking forward to a little reprieve.  My studio calls to me, and once I manage to put away everything that was simply dumped in there upon returning home, I will be back to painting once again.  I have already gotten the beginnings of two more Joshua Tree paintings started, and I am so excited to have a chance to finish them.

Despite climbing temperatures, the desert flora and fauna outside our window continue to entertain and capture my attention.  We currently have the pencil cholla, opuntia arbuscula, dazzling us with small salmon-red blooms. 
Those of you who are more regular readers of this blog may notice that I am not posting as frequently as usual.  Yes, I have been busy with various art festivals.  Yes, I have been painting a lot.  Yes, I have been part of a new co-op gallery.  And yes, I am teaching a drawing class. In addition to these commitments, I am also volunteering for the local arts council.  The MBCAC, or Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, is the local non-profit arts organization here in the high desert of Southern California.  Each year in October, the MBCAC sponsors an Open Studio Art Tours.  This year, I have volunteered to write a blog for the Art Tours.  I am blogging about the artists who are on the Tours, and other artists who have been a part of the Arts Council in years past.  If you are interested in seeing some of the wonderful talent we have here in the high desert, you can visit this other blog by clicking this link.  I volunteered for this position before my husband was laid off, and I have to admit that I nearly backed out after he lost his job.  However, after thinking about it I realized that I really DID want to help the local arts organization.  I really DID want to write a blog about the amazing artists in our area.  I also really DID want to have an excuse to visit some of the artists I haven't met here yet.  So I have persevered.  I have three other people who will be helping me contribute to the Hi-Desert Art Beat, and they will be credited with the posts they write.  I feel that it is important to honor commitments I have made, and this commitment is one that I intend to honor.

I hope to once again catch up with all of you fellow bloggers!  I am back in the blog-o-sphere more regularly now, dear readers, and I hope to have more tantalizing desert offerings for you soon.