Posts Tagged ‘art’

Painting a day 2016-Day22-Plow horse

March 30, 2016
Plow horse-study 7"x5"

             Plow horse-study

This guy is one half of a big, Belgian team of horses that  I “met” at a historic horse, mule, and oxen farming days.  Such big, beautiful animals that seem to look graceful even when pulling a plow.

Every time I see a team of Belgians, I think of my grandpa “ship” and the summers he kept a team and let me “help” with a few of the chores involving the horses.  I was fascinated by those big, beautiful, blonde horses with the huge hooves.  I remember watching him harness, hitch, and drive them as if he’d been doing it all his life…..oh wait, …..he had.  What I wouldn’t give to have had a few more years with him to learn to drive a team like he did.


Painting a day 2016-Day 20-Dixie Study

March 27, 2016

Dixie Study -7″x5″

This is Dixie.  Another in my dramatic light and vivid color mini series.  Black horses really do have a lot of color when they have great lighting and you look for it.  The photo reference for this was beautiful and worked well as a photo except it was too underexposed and I lost all of the detail in the shadow on the left side.  I tried to improvise and fill in some of the detail–I think I somewhat succeeded but the painting just didn’t meet up to my vision.  Although, sometimes it is tough to capture that vision in just an hour ala prima (all at once, wet on wet) session.  I think I’ll try this subject again….another day.  Until then, HAPPY EASTER all!

Painting a day 2016-Day 13 Mulie Study #2

March 19, 2016

5″x7″ oil on canvas



“I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path and I will leave a trail.”Muriel Strode

Painting a day 2016-Day 12-Sunlight and Sage-study

March 15, 2016
Day 12 painting a day

Sunlight and Sage study 7″x5″

I decided to continue working with the mule deer reference photos because; a.)I have so much of it and haven’t really painted much from it yet, and b.)the doe paintings seem to be really flowing.  It is good to be challenged but it is also good to have a balance between the process and progress and feel like you come out on top once in awhile.

While camping, we usually leave camp before daylight so that we can be out and about right at daybreak.  There are two huge reasons for that, the light is great at that time and that’s when the wildlife really get to moving.  Plus, the crowds and traffic are low at that time–so, there you go, there are three reasons!  That saying, “the early bird gets the worm”….very true.  When camping and hiking at a well visited park like Rocky, the best shots are those that take you away from the crowds.  Those that take you off of the beaten path and out of the tent and on the trail bright and early.  Sometimes it is those unexpected shots that you’re just blessed with being at the right place at the right time.  Sometimes it’s when weather is moving in and everyone else gets out of the rain, mist, wind or snow but you stick it out just a little bit longer.  And then sometimes it happens when you just set up in the woods, sit quietly, wait and watch.

This little painting was based on some reference material gathered in a big stand of pine that was beautifully lit by warm, filtered light.  We weren’t sure where we were headed that morning and just decided to head towards the Bear Lake area and stop when we’d decided the light was right and where wildlife movement seemed promising.  As we were headed down the road, I spotted a couple of does and several little ones moving through the forest, just off the road.  We pulled up to the next vehicle pull off and parked.  We decided to hike back down the mountain a bit, down into the pines on the opposite side of the road, find a quiet, spot on some boulders with tree trunks somewhat breaking up our silhouettes and just wait.  We figured if we just waited patiently–we might get some good shots once they crossed the road and moved into the sunlit gaps within the forest–and if not, hey, it was a beautiful morning, the air was just warming up, and the smell of pine and fresh air was strong–it just didn’t get any better than this.

Well, that’s what we thought….  Except that the icing on the cake was that our gamble paid off and I snapped several beautifully lit shots of the does and little ones as they browsed on the grasses and shrubs growing in the openings.  We sat there and just watched them wander about, until they finally moved on through the valley.  We got up and quietly walked back to the road, moving on, in search of our next peaceful moment.

Painting a day 2016-Day 11-Mulie Study 1

March 14, 2016

Mulie+Study+1For today’s painting, I started out with the intent of painting a mulie buck that we’d spotted, lying in the tall grass while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I was excited about the subject and have thought about eventually doing a larger painting of it, so, now’s the time to do a little study and practice, right?  Right.  Well, no matter what I did, the painting was just not coming along.  I wiped parts of it out twice and finally wiped the whole canvas down and decided to move on to another subject.  This doe, on the other hand, almost painted herself.

So, today was a lesson in knowing when to persevere and when to save that subject for another day–it’s all learning!

“Every struggle arises for a reason for experience or a lesson. A great journey is never easy, and no dose of adversity along the way is ever a waste of time if you learn and grow from it.”  ~M. Lim



2015-A year in review

January 3, 2016
Plein air on Eagle Cliff Mountain

Painting on Eagle Cliff Mountain



Looking back on 2015, I have to say I was very blessed.  I took a few risks, was pleasantly surprised, and grew artistically in the process.

I participated in my first (and second) plein air events.  Both events were at the same location, Steelville MO.  I decided to ignore my fears, schedule some time away from my job and go for it.  It was a labor of love.  I was thoroughly exhausted and creatively spent at the end of the day.  These events are not easy despite how some artists make it look!  The first day I was so exhausted and frustrated with my performance that I was second guessing my decision. I told myself going in, I want to produce a painting to turn in each day/event and I want it to be something that I’m not totally disappointed in.  I wanted it to be something that I felt was a true representation of my work.  The first day, I struggled with finding a composition and drawing, getting true color down, and dodging rain showers.  In the last hour before time to check in, I painting a quick little painting.  It wasn’t my best work but I did feel it restored a bit of faith in myself.  I did go on to complete the event.  I turned in a painting a day, each day for 5 days plus a sunset paint and a nocturne.  I ended up painting over 15 paintings to display and sell at the final sale and gallery display!  I could see a change in my work each day and by the end of the event felt really good about my progress and accomplishment.  I sold several paintings and even won an honorable mention!  As a result of this event, I also met some amazing new artist friends; one of whom wrote an article that was published on the Plein Air Magazine’s online magazine where they used some of my location photos along with a photo of my painting in progress.  That was quite a feather in my cap!  Thank you again Marcia!

I went back to Steelville in the fall and participated in their fall paint out.  Again, I told myself I will paint in each event and turn something in for each one; the themes were earth, air, water, and fire.  Again, I painted multiple paintings each day….and when the event was over, I was ecstatic to have made a few sales and lo and behold, walk away with one of the days’ purchase awards!  You could’ve knocked me over with a feather!

Early on in the year, I signed up for an account on a daily painting site (although, I still do not paint daily, I am painting A LOT more).  It is safe to say that I’ve produced more paintings this year than several years combined in the past.  I signed up for this site as a place to display my “painting a day for a month” paintings.  Each February for the past few years, I do a “painting a day for a month” challenge to myself.  This year, I painted small, 5×7 inch value studies.  These were a way for me to focus on drawing and values.  This is a wonderful and very beneficial exercise for me.  Again, I saw a real improvement in my work and as an added bonus, I’ve made many sales and met new, wonderful, collectors/friends through these sales.  I’ve shipped art to several new states that I hadn’t sold in before and am up to 18 states on my “sellers list”!  Woo Hoo–I’m going for all 50….it’s on my bucket list! LOL

I participated in a few juried shows with our local art club, one being the annual landscape show.  I am honored to have taken second place in this show.  Quite an accomplishment after seeing the caliber of work in the show and knowing the artist who received first–I have long admired his work and really look up to him and value his critiques and advice.

I started painting en plein air (or on location) at least once per week unless I was away from home or until daylight savings time ended and I was getting off of work at my “day job” in the dark.  I’ve sold many of these paintings via the Daily Paintworks site, so, not only is it great practice but I’ve been able to continue paying for my supplies and gas to locations.  Yay, win/win!  Plein air painting has taken me to some amazing painting locations this year.  I’ve painted inside a cave, in the flint hills of Kansas, standing in a river, and even painted on the side of a mountain!  Not sure how I will top those in 2016!

I took a leap and applied to my first artist-in-residence program.  The jury is still out on whether I made the cut or not…..hopefully I will have great news to report in April of 2016!

I also put myself out there and applied to a couple of national shows/events.  I was not accepted but, it is still an accomplishment to go through the application process and put my work out there with the “big dogs” and be judged alongside them.  Who knows, with continued growth and persistence, maybe one day it will pay off.

There you have it, some of my artistic highlights for 2015….here’s to seeing what 2016 holds.  Stay tuned……

Lose yourself

June 1, 2015
Shaw Pond

Shaw Pond

Pinetum Lake

Pinetum Lake

“Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

Amen, Pablo—no truer words can be said.

For the artist, the creation of art can be therapeutic, a chance to shake off the day to day grind, the baggage of a fast-paced world with information overload.  The creation of art can give the artist a chance to breathe, a chance to get out and rehabilitate our senses.  I can feel so exhausted after a day of painting and completely refreshed all at the same time.

For the artist and art appreciator alike, art can stir emotion.  Art can take us to another place, time, or memory.  It can make us feel the soft summer breezes, the warmth of the sun, the cold of a snowflake, the chill of a fresh rain, smell the aroma of newly blooming wildflowers, or remember a place or person special to us.  Art can make us lose ourselves, even if just for a moment.

Take some time to lose yourself in some art—trust me!  You don’t have to go to a museum or “artsy fartsy” (as my fam describes it) gallery to lose yourself.  This is THE season for plein air in this area, get out there and watch art as a spectator sport.  Watch as an artist creates their own spin on a scene right before you.  If you can’t attend and watch, go to the show afterwards and see the finished pieces and meet the artist who created it.  Hear some of the stories of the process.  See if you can spot those paintings created during the prime mosquito and gnat hours or those that may have had a mishap and kissed the ground a time or two during creation.  Attend a local fine art/craft demo at some of the historical re-enactment events or grab some great food to munch on while browsing an outdoor art fair.

If public gatherings are not your “thing”—there are great online sites that post all levels of artwork on a daily basis.  Check out  –while you’re there….look me up!

Now, get out there and lose yourself—either as an artist or appreciator!

I’m a work in progress, and so is my art

May 21, 2015


This post itself has been a “work in progress”, behind the scenes of my blog for a while now.

There are these days….these moments….. where I question why I am doing what I’m doing in life and if I’m failing at my purpose.  Why I’m using my a LOT of my spare time trying to be an artist?  Am I failing at being a parent, at being a spouse?  What am I doing, trying to belong in a career as a “techie”?

It’s been a rough week this week.  I have a lot going on in the next couple of months in my home life, work life, and art life and it just all sorta came crashing in on me this week.  It goes without saying, I am STRESSED OUT and without intending to, I snap and end up letting my stress get the best of me and overflow into my mood and my actions.  I turn to my daily devotions and prayer of a morning to try and start the day off right.  I try to wear my inspirational bracelets to remind me throughout the day to; “Just breathe”, “Let go and let God”,  “Have faith and remember I am blessed”, “Good girls rarely make history” ….oh wait, that last one’s a different reminder!  Anyway, reminding thyself that it will all be OK and to just chin up and keep on…..yeah…..all of that is easier said than done……  So, to try and stamp out some of the stress, I’m trying to focus on joy.  I’m trying to make myself take a little extra “me time”.  This means making myself take a few minutes to paint, draw, read, spend time with my newest lil nephew, visit with a friend….things that make me stop and take a deep breathe and that bring me joy.

One of my absolute, favorite movies, “Mom’s night out” is based on these thoughts; being a mom and feeling like you’re failing at everything you do.  A hot mess.  If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it for both guys and gals.  For the guys out there, it may give you a little insight to the female mind and it’s thought processes.  It may help you to understand why we sometimes freak out about the littlest things and subsequently help you to avoid a meltdown, blowup, or worse; a trip to “the doghouse”.  For the gals out there, it will remind you that you’re enough, sometimes failure is just our perception and no one else’s and above all, that we’re way too hard on ourselves.

Speaking of being way too hard on ourselves, I have a saying that I try to pass on to fellow artists and painting buddies when they’re doubting their work and that I often try to mumble to  myself when I want to toss a painting on the burn pile, “We are our own worst critics.”  I should probably yell it at myself instead of mumble it but then anyone around may thing I’m full blown, straight up crazy instead of thinking I’m just a little off.

This trying to be an artist is a love/hate thing –sometimes what brings you joy can also be a thorn in the side.  I’ve really been trying to paint en Plein air more often because I feel that it will ultimately make me a better artist in general.  Painting from life brings it’s own challenges but it gets the crutches of working from a photograph out of the way.  Something I only realized after painting from life more.  I’ve had some great teachers try to get me to see that point but it just hadn’t sunk in until I experienced it.  Painting from life forces you to really see and make your own decisions on the process of creating the painting.  It is not limiting the view or color range or depth as a photograph does.  Don’t get me wrong, painting from reference material is definitely a must for some work but I feel like the foundation and the knowledge gained from painting from life is still showing through in the studio work.  Some paintings leave me feeling like I am really making progress and then other days, I wonder, “What was I thinking????”  I guess I just have to remind myself that I learn or take something away from each and every painting.  Sometimes it is how to mix that perfect green or finally getting my brush to achieve just the right stroke, or experiencing the way the light hits my subject…..and then again, sometimes what I learn is that I definitely need more practice!

At any rate, it’s all good.  I just need to pour some Velvet Red, sit a spell, and remind myself that I can’t do it all but I am enough.  I am a work in progress and probably always will be….oh, and so is my art.

Austin-value study-Day 2

February 2, 2015



Day 2 of my painting a day project

To view this painting in my daily paintworks gallery, click here:

Day 2 of the painting a day challenge for the month of February.

I decided to go with another value study. I did use a third color on this one….besides the burnt sienna and burnt umber, I used a tad bit of dirty white (“dirty” because it had a little bit of yellow pre-mixed into it) mixed in the burnt sienna, just because I wanted to add to the “dust effect”. This subject is very dear to my heart–this guy was my big, lovable furball, my “bubba”, my “buckwheat”…..I had several “pet names” for him….and most of the time, they were very endearing.  He rarely ever heard himself referred to as “knucklehead” or “pain in the arse”….ha ha, like others in our herd.  He was a horse with such a large but loving personality.  He liked to pick things up in his mouth and walk off with them, he liked to lick your hands, arms, etc. like a dog, and he loved to just follow you around and just “hang out”.  I trusted him entirely.  I’ve let more than one horse-crazy girl come and handle/brush him and then experience their first horseback ride on him.  I put two of my nieces on him to ride double, back from a dinner at our church and didn’t worry about them going down the road by themselves when my ride decided to throw a lil fit because he was scared of a cart being pulled by a pony.   I knew “bubba” would take care of the girls.  He truly loved being with his humans.

He was part Morgan and really carried himself as such.  He was a handsome guy and knew it most days.  This particular scene was of him “showing off” for me one day because he was jealous of me working with one of my other horses.  So, being the artist and photographer that I am, I immediately dropped everything and went to photograph his antics.  Yep, he knew how to turn the attention back on him.  Gosh, I truly miss this guy….the herd isn’t the same without him.

“Life is too short, so, ride your best horse first”.


“Comfort Food”

March 15, 2012
oil painting

Comfort Food

“Comfort Food”

16”x20” oil on canvas

Comfort food by definition is food prepared in a traditional style usually having a nostalgic or sentimental appeal, or can be simply an easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest meal rich in calories, nutrients.

Food is synonymous with so many things in our lives besides just sustenance; it can mean a celebration, worship, sympathy, compassion, and comfort.  Here in the states it seems we have a cake to celebrate about everything…..weddings, birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, retirement, holidays, you name it, we have cake for it.  Would you feel like something was missing if you celebrated any one of those things without the cake?  How different would a wedding reception be if you didn’t have the cake or the traditional cake in the face wedding pictures??  What about not having food present at all, would the celebration still be the same?  I mean, think about Thanksgiving without the feast!!??!!  How would that work??  The true meaning of the holiday is to give thanks for all of our blessings but we prepare a meal as our way of giving thanks and celebrating it.

It is custom here to also present food to a family when they’re dealing with the loss of a loved one or if they’re faced with a hardship such as an illness.  I think it is meant to console as well as to be a convenience.  I think it is to make sure they not only have food but do not have to worry about getting it and preparing it or making sure they have enough to feed extra family members and friends that are there.  Sometimes it’s also a way of remembering the person lost.  It might be in memory of the person, maybe that person’s favorite food or a dish that that person was “famous” for.  I remember my uncle Ervin every time I have a dessert that has been dubbed “blueberry or cherry delight”.  It is somewhat like cheesecake (only better) and is something we’ve had in his memory several times.  It was something he always made and brought to family get-togethers and was known for.

After I married and my extended family grew, I acquired new “food memories”.  I remember my father in law and his fondness of rhubarb pie.  I remember the meals my husband’s grandma fixed—always amazing!  They owned a dairy farm so things were always fresh!  I remember his grandpa making peanut brittle during the holidays.  That was probably one of the few times grandma Millie actually allowed him to take over her kitchen!

I have fond memories of several members of our family who are still here but that have a special dish or something they prepared at special occasions.  My grandma Eva always baked us homemade angel food cakes with icing glaze for our birthdays.  One year, she gave me the cake on a platter that belonged to my great grandma.  What a memory—I plan to pass that down to my children one day.  I also remember the meals my grandma made for all of us after long days of putting up hay in the summer.  I remember them pulling up a hay wagon and spreading the food out on it.  My mom is also sort of known for her cooking abilities in our family.  I’m not sure there’s anything that she can’t cook.  It has become somewhat of a tradition now that we’re grown, for her to fix a family dinner with one of our favorite dishes for each of our birthdays.  Something that is better than any store bought gift or card!  I must admit, her cooking abilities are not something that all of her children have completely mastered.  We have our moments that we pull off a pot of chicken and dumplings, or a batch of dinner rolls that rival hers, however, more than once one of the grandkids have made the comment about some other dish; “that’s not how grandma makes it or it’s not as good as grandma’s”.  Only to be met with a glare and/or the words, “maybe you should go to grandma’s house then”….ha ha…..  My dad’s side of the family are of German decent and when we get together, food is always present and is a way of socializing.  You eat and visit.  You do not leave grandma’s house without eating something and you will never leave her home hungry.  I learned that at a very early age.

Food can also be a comfort.  Probably why I should be exercising more….some issues in life just require more comfort than others!  Some foods just make you feel better.  Whether they really have healing powers or just a hidden mind trick, who knows, but, they are a comfort.  There are times when you just NEED that piece of chocolate and get bent out of shape when you find someone has eaten it all.  How many times have you gotten hurt as a child or were upset over the latest “world crushing” event in your life, or had a cold or a sore throat and mom gave you some sort of treat to make it all better?  Popsicles cure sore throats, ice cream heals hurt feelings, chocolate heals broken hearts, and soup cures a cold…..right??