Sunday, 13 November 2005

North Light Books---Here I Come!

I have been asked to write a book for North Light about how I paint. That was a tough one as there are some things we do by instinct and then we do not think about why or how, we simply do it. I am finding it is going alot faster than I had expected. Now maybe it is because I know more than I thought but I doubt it! HA! I think the process is teaching me to look at how I paint and to answer these questions, often for the first time. In the end I shall know alot more just because I had to put it into writing. I think the process will be very fulfilling and enriching for sure! I am boxing up most of chapter one today and will mail it off tomorrow. Once I begin chapter two, I will feel like I am moving forward. Needless to say, I will not be completing many new paintings but will work on alot of demos instead. I will have to post pictures from my website when I can. Stay tuned!

Friday, 7 October 2005

Life Has Seasons

I have been very remiss in writing here in my blog but for very good reason. Mostly I had nothing to say! I had a friend who was dying of cancer and his wife is my best friend. I just did not paint, making myself available if she should call. She did not call often but I was always ready. Instead I spent time in the gardens and completely removed one, sending the perennials to the ditch to bloom there. All in all, I think what I did was take a break from everything and spent more time in thought about what I really want with the rest of my life. I am not sure but the time gave me new avenues to investigate. I managed to make 160 blankets for the police and social services for the purpose of placing around children that are removed from homes where there is rape, incest, domestic violence and meth lab situations. I would never have had time for such a thing if I had not put my art on hold.It was an opportunity to give back to my community. The picture above shows the last load going in of 80 blankets.
We all go through seasons in our life and rather than beating ourselves up about it, step back and use the time to look at the life you lead. Is it of quality and full of happiness and blessings and friends or do you need to spend some time in one of these areas? Friendships take time just like marriage does. Time to talk and bond and support one another. I am so grateful that I had this time. I could easily do it again next summer just to enjoy the gardens and get up at 5 am and weed the garden while listening to the loons call across the lake. It was "soul time" and I feel enriched to have had to opportunity to try it.

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Chipmunk Challenge

I have been rescuing this small creature for two years now. He or she lives under my deck and has a routine that includes teasing my two cats. The cats take it for awhile but the little rascal gets closer and closer and before you know it...either George or Gracie have it in their jaws. Luckily I am there and can tell them to drop him and off he this fish at the end of the deck and continues to chip and squack away. He seems to be telling the cats off for awhile and then goes away for an hour or so. Then the routine begins again. I see his determination and even some sense of humor and think about all the creatures out there. Many have personalities and voice their opinions. This guy definately has an opinion and that opinion is that the cats should stay in the house and not come on his deck I guess! HA! Anyway, I thought you would enjoy seeing my little friend. Perhaps one day he will be in a painting and immortalized.

Saturday, 4 June 2005

The Creative Person

I have not been painting. Not because I do not want to, but because there are other things that I also want to do that are coming first. I think many artists think they must paint everyday. I do not find that to be true for me. I really love to paint and do so whenever I can but I also love to garden and take long walks. I have friends with cancer who I love to spend time with. I live by a lake and love to go out paddling on the water and enjoying the beauty that surrounds me. I feel each of these is a creative venture as well and should not be overlooked, for we are not just one but many faceted people. It would be a shame to only nuture one part of ourselves and leave the rest unattended, thinking it is unimportant, when it, in fact, can make us whole. To be complete as a person, we need to pay attention to all our interests that make us who we are.
I painted the kitchen last week. I hope to do more of it and think that we need to make our enviornment as pleasing as possible, which I think makes other creativity possible. It is hard to be creative in dreary surroundings. Make your world a happy place and it will make you happy as well. I think this is critical for artists who face long winters such as I do. We do have a tendency to get depressed and it is important to make the world we live in as bright and cheerful as possible so the winters are not so gray! Yes, there are many beautiful shades of gray but they do not belong on my walls!
Spend some time thinking about those areas of interest that you have, that you shove to the back of your mind. Are they something you think might be worth investigating? Will doing one of them increase the quality of your life or give you greater happiness? Then get off your butt and do them, for we only go around once. I am more than an artist who paints in watercolor. I would be selling myself short to leave it at that. So would you. Nourish those forgotten creative areas that you have hidden and see how happy and full your life can be!

Monday, 30 May 2005

Painting Lace

Lately I have been getting emails asking me how I paint lace. I am sure it appears to be difficult but it really is not. You are basically painting the holes in the lace and that is what makes the pattern. Therefore, it is very important to see the pattern the holes make. By following this, you get some very believable looking lace with little effort.
To do this seems daunting but I find that if I blow that area up in a photo or on photoshop, I can see this easier. I also isolate that area so that is all I see. Once you find a starting place it becomes easier. Just hold your finger in that place and move it only as you complete each hole...then move your finger to the next hole and draw that. By never moving the finger off the photo or computer screen, I do not lose my place. Otherwise, there are just too many holes and it all becomes a blur. This little trick has helped me alot and I use it any time there is something complicated that I am trying to paint.
Another thing I do is use jeweler's glasses for magnification. That has been a life saver and I think as we age, anything that helps us see is fair game! HA! I love detail and I want to know what is really there, even if I choose not to paint it. I think getting all the information helps me paint a better painting.
Hope this will help and encourage you to try some lace!

Monday, 9 May 2005

Frustrated Artist

I am frustrated. Not that I am unhappy or anything bad has occurred...I just want to paint and it seems impossible to do! How often has that happened for you? You might say..."Well, just do it!" and that is all well and good but perhaps I need to explain why!
Living in northern Minnesota is often joked about as 9 months of winter and 3 months of tough sledding. It is not that bad but when spring one is indoors unless their job demands it. Everyone is outside. Even my cats can't resist sitting on the decks and just looking and smellingand rolling in the dirt. That is what I am doing as well. The hummingbirds arrived yesterday and I saw a first Oriole today trying to eat out of the hummingbird feeder. Everything comes alive at once here as the countdown has already begun! Each duck must get her eggs laid and each bird the same. I have to run to every greenhouse for miles around to gather in the goodies I will plant and hopefully they will be as beautiful as I imagine so I can take pictures for paintings this winter while locked away in the house. So in away, I may not be painting but all this work is in preparation for paintings I will do in November and December and January! My fingernails are gone and my skin is already tan even though it has not been consistently warm...we are out regardless as we can almost hear Mother Nature's clock ticking away the minutes until things will die back and winter once again decends. So...that is why we only come inside to go to the bathroom or to eat. The season may be short but it is anticipated for over many months of gazing at flower magazines and catalogs. I think that is why we love it so. It is a rare and sweet gift that we get and we do not waste a minute of it! I hope you will take advantage of your days in the sun and enjoy each one. We are only given so many on this earth and we need to use them wisely! I can dust and clean all winter. I can paint then too! But I only have NOW to plant. I only have now to enjoy and relish the sun and warmth and dirt.
My kids will be home this week. My daughter lives in Oregon and son in South Dakota. I will try to post the picture of my daughter's wedding when my son was holding her...he looked over at her husband and said "Remember, I held her first" and we all cried!

Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Growing Roses

Growing roses in northern Minnesota can be a challenge but for me it is only for the flowers to paint. Then each year, I plant new ones so I have new painting material again. It can get down to 40 below zero here in the winter so roses need alot of protection to make it. Some people actually dig trenches to place the plants into and cover them up. That is too much work for me so each year I begin anew. I have found some Canadian hardy roses that come again each year but they are not the same as the lovely tea roses that I love to paint. This painting I entitled, Aglow, as the sunlight lit it up so that it appeared to be glowing in the garden!

Saturday, 23 April 2005

Romanian Well

I have not posted a picture yet and will try to do so to go along with this post. I am learning ever so slowly!
I just completed a painting of a well in Romania. The money that is received from the prints will be going over to them to help them with projects. This is the first I have done such a commission but if it works, I hope to do others to help out worthy causes. To view this painting for now, please visit my website at, it is 1/2 way down the page, as it will not load here for me. I will try again after I speak with someone as to why it is not loading. Thank you for your patience!

Friday, 22 April 2005

For The Love Of Watercolor

I have been a watercolorist since 1989 when I first tried using them. It just felt right and I have not turned back. I graduated with a BFA in fine art in 1971 from the University of North Dakota and taught art for awhile. I worked then in oils and acrylics.
I now teach art on a national level doing workshops. I also compete in national exhibitions and have received my signature status with the Transparent Watercolor Society of America , Missouri Watercolor Society and Red River Watercolor Society.
I hope to be adding to this and developing an interesting blog as time permits. Hang in there with me!