Thursday, November 18, 2010


There is something artistically healthy about having a winter sale every few years. For one thing you can take on stacks of trials and errors on different projects and discover some gem and other worthwhile images . Another benefit is that you can sell gallery work that is too dated for continued inventory in your gallery and sell it as affordable art. thirdly, I get to do things I don't take time to do when working on my wildlife website or at the easel with figurative paintings. This bear is simply a line drawing from leafing through references until I could internalize the behaviors and shapes of the wonderful black bear. Finally , I can use this sale project as a way to establish an "every few days" habit of doing this blog>:)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A trip to South Carolina near Charleston amazed me with it's wildlife and wetlands. Such an abundance of species in so many categories. We were fortunate to experience the dolphins strandfeeding , seeing oyster beds as part of miles and miles of river landscape. And Live Oak trees and moss throwing out there long huge arms as if welcoming anyone passing.
Entering the studio after returning from this vacation will take several days to ground myself as a result of such a wonderful and dramatic distraction .
I usually resolve that with putting large sheets of white craft paper on the easel and drawing out whatever comes to mind.
Another helpful technique is having Twyla Tharps' book ; "The Creavie Habit" as a reminder of how to remain on task.

Friday, October 8, 2010


This blog is too important to draw or talk about drawing and painting. We have officially achieved EGG! One of our 6 hens has dropped this jewel to announce a tasty and nutritious winter ahead. Nature rules! Living things are such a mysteriously magnificent piece of work . And reverence prevails.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


A technique that really works for me after a studio day is to snap a photo of what I am leaving on the easel so I can worry about it later or even sometimes give it an approving nod.
Today isn't a "nod" day. I fear the head is out of proportion to the body. My plan is to sit with a glass of wine in the backyard this evening and wait for the late day feeding to check the goldfinch proportions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


There are all sorts of studio time outs one could take from the intensity of painting at the easel. My preference is to go with the simplicity of paper and pencil and find the lines on different subjects. Of course there is always that option of a magazine or nap on the old couch .

The advantage of these soft drawing times is that you can accumulate a number of images fitting for a studio sale .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Making an appointment with your photographer for a phote shoot offers you a deadline to step pestering a canvas and submit it as finished as it can be. Or you cancel the appointment which you knew in your heart was pre mature and tuck the painting on a back easel for consideration at a later date as you ponder it.

The hawk image occupied the "tuck away" easel for about a month. This week end I was able to transition it into an image showing some of the qualities of a raptor that I was hoping to find.

This is a studio shot but I am ready to turn it over to my photographer Sidney Smith as finished. It also helps that she is outstanding at what she does.

Friday, September 3, 2010


The most friendly chicken in our flock of six is Rose. She enjoys my conversations when having afternoon coffee in their coop yard. She often sits on my knee while listening to me talk about a day of making contacts, supply errands, and studio work.
Yesterday she moved up to my shoulder and roosted there as we watched the others in silence.
I have read how chickens can be friendly and fun to watch to the point of distraction and now
here I am here writing about it and thinking gesture sketches, ink etchings and water color.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Whether you are using photos you have taken or researched, or simply watched a specific animal at the zoo or your own backyard, it all seems to come down to how you perceive and act on what you think you have seen . That's the beauty of painting. The artist can take liberties to celebrate the image as it comes down on the canvas.
Since my last entry I have visited this canvas off and on to find what I am looking for in my effort to represent a Red Tail hawk.
I'm curious what the end result will be.

Monday, August 9, 2010


After spending the winter choosing animals that prowl and pounce I have decided to look up and find entertainment in the flyers. Spring and summer are providing a canopy of life among the feeders and gardens in our backyard.
I am especially focused on two hawks right now. the Red Tail and the Cooper's hawk. Both perch long enough for some quick sketches and unfortunately the demise of a small mouse.
My sister lead me to a wonderful source : A daily journal of an excellent photographer in New York.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Some days you just need to leave the studio and get your inspiration side ways. The Mt. Hood national forest is just a little over an hour away. The alpine air, glacier lakes and blue blue sky are all this golden retriever needed to demonstrate how to embrace the day.

Friday, July 23, 2010


When deciding on a an animal to paint I often choose one from an inspiring book I have just read or a someone who has influenced me in a way that identifies them to the image of a certain animal.
In the case of this wolf painting, a
delightful 9 year old girl named Ava provided the subject. She and her family have been living in Alaska for the last two years for an adventure far away from their California home.
Last spring Ava became ill. Eventually she was diagnosed with cancer.
Ava expressed that her favorite animal is the wolf. I painted this image for her with the hope it would become a companion that will see her through this hard time of treatments and concern.
Recently, she and her family have returned to the little village in Alaska. Her optimistic self has endured all procedures so far. May she continue to mend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


To preoccupy myself during a lengthy period of recovery after surgery, I decided it was a good time to raise chickens. They arrived 3 days old and tiny. Now they are 8 week old pullets and well on their way to being fabulous hens. And thanks to them I am well on my way to being back in the studio again.
Without a doubt these two girls and the other 4 will provide inspiration for fun paintings ahead.

Monday, March 22, 2010


There is something special about sunshine after a day of rain. A flicker landed outside the office window to soak it up. Or he was spotlighting himself for his date calling from a nearby tree. Spring is definitely here.


Last week end my sister was sorting through stored boxes and found this treasure of a wolf image that our mother did about 15 years ago. By then she was in a small studio apartment to accommodate health issues. It was literally a "studio" apartment with a bed and kitchen and all her craft endeavors stacked around her. She made quilts, cookies, painted scenes on small furniture and tried anything craft-like that she could find. All this before she had her first computer.
This wolf was her repediograph phase. What a delight to have this drawing. Having lost mom just last May, it seems special we are sharing the same subject matter. There were always birds in her images choices and hopefully those will surfaced as well.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


It will take my photographer to do this painting justice but I wanted to talk about it today.

The black bear experience has been enjoyable and I must admit, endearing. They are those rounded dark shapes that weave through the woods of greens and shades of brown simply going about life absorbed in the act of foraging for food, sleeping and with the female, nurturing her young. It's a private life except for interruption by man or another bear with territory issues.

What transpired on the easel has been what could become a story book bear in the future. I couldn't help but have fun with the sideways glances and that wonderful pear shaped muzzle.

Another black bear source that has been informative and enjoyable is This site is also great for kids to view in that it provides clear and comprehensive facts and wonderful photos that are kept up to date.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


When I read, listen to music, attend a performance or see an exhibit, it often occures to me that art takes courage. Courage and a special recipe of confidence.
The courage isn't so much in the sacrifices that come without a reliable income or weaving through life with an obscure identity that is difficult for people to relate to at parties.
It is the healthy ego and passionate drive that motivates the artist to put it "out there" and expose themselves. And it's the intrinsic private victory experienced having let go of that creative need.
Some readings to share:

"The courage to be is the ethical act in which man affirms his own being in spite of those elements of his existence which conflict with his essential self-affirmation"
Paul Tillich "The Courage To Be"

"The object, which is back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being; a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence."
Robet Henri

"life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult."

Monday, March 8, 2010


As one can see from the blog uploads , I tend to stray from my task at hand. The research on the black bear has been threading through several other projects like a child's chair for an auction and now a commission for a landscape.

While working on this canvas I can entertain the idea of a black bear female moving along the terrain with three cubs to teach and nurture. Fortunately my clients gave me an open ended request and that allows for visualization and creating my own stage.

On the topic of research I do want to share a wonderful resource I found on the web. The North American Bear Center. It's a comprehensive site full of informative videos , interesting categories and the underlying mission to preserve the bears and specifically the black bears in North America.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Graham has just turned 6. He has a wonderful imagination and is game anything. His parents agreed to let me teach him "easel painting" once a week. These sessions have blossomed into unexpected fun and unpredictable outcomes. His subject matter is self invented as well as choice of colors and working tools. My self appointed assignment is to teach him how to treat his brushes , how much paint to put on the palette and the maintenance of using acrylics. Of course there is the coaching of keeping the project moving forward.

The studio all feels lighter when entering the day after his lesson. He leaves a trail of giggles, stories and pure uninhibited confidence in his finish product. Some days I envy him that freedom.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Sometimes a request for giving comes to me that is worth while to consider. Today Margo Jacobsen picked up a child's chair that I painted this week. A group called Oregon Partnership is putting on an auction April 16th at the Portland Art Museum to raise money for crises counseling to benefit returning vets as well as lending aid to help with drug addiction in Portland schools.

I decided to keep with my present research theme of bears. "A Bear Chair"! Very fun to paint, the photo posted is the half point to a finished product.

The studio feels better having balanced the energy with giving.

Now back to the bear painting that went on hold for a week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The weather in Oregon has had everyone outside taking on long awaited projects. Especially since we know this warm, dry, sun time won't last long at this time of year.

A chicken house raising is what occupied the sunny days in my yard. Five people coming together to build a 5'x6' prize of a coop. I almost wish I was a prospective Road Island Red .
In time the coop run and the details that lead up to getting the chicks will get done. But right now I am pleased knowing there will be great subject matter to paint by late spring as well as fresh eggs.

A great reference has been Keep Chickens!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Some days are too loaded with "need to do's" to get to the studio for a productive amount of time. Computer deadlines as well as the unopened envelopes stacked beside me tell it's time to sit it out and get it done.

It's easier with a February rain and Maddie Rose in her big dog sleep near the desk.

Then because you are sitting still working, a nice surprise outside the office window makes it all worthwhile. This hawk stayed around long enough to play with my camera.

To carry over a blog idea expressed earlier this week, I have the digital images of my black bear attempts from the studio lined up on a near by table. This habit is like a day of painting without a brush. It's also handy in waiting rooms or long lines.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Often starting to paint on a sketch is like jumping into water that is wide and deep. It's amazing what lessons and challenges surface right away. If the application of paint is done without the next step in mind then the form becomes flat and without life.

The image posted from my work yesterday is an example of rushing into a well thought out sketch with paint. The result is that i squeezed the personality right out of it.

I am not looking for just any black bear image on my canvas. It needs to speak with line, color and shape in such a way that pulls the viewer in so that they may enjoy the acquaintance .

Today I'll start over a little wiser from this last swim.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


A good digital camera is a must since having my studio away from home.
You can record lots of opportunities to check the progress or destruction of a good idea.
After many attempts to capture the expression I was looking for today I could snap a shot, print it out at home
and have it close at hand to re-evaluate and plan out the
next step for tomorrow.

It's interesting what comes through at the easel. After having read and sorted through a stack of references , my heart went out to a bear named "Little Bit" who grew up to be quite large. A delightful read.
There is no url to link to but the publisher is: Hyperion in NY published in 1999.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


In the studio when in front of the easel , I begin the journey of finding the images of the bear with line. I do this with large vine charcoal. There is a constant movement of putting down lines and wiping them off until the image works and the relationship begins. There will be days of this before i pick up brush and paint.
What I have researched and observed will find it's way into the black bear image until there is conversation coming off the canvas and the observer can feel the pull. Then I get out the paints.

girl and bear

Welcome and thank you for checking into my blog. The plan is to create postings that are informal using a format of journaling the journey of easel processes and the experiences that give me the inspiration to paint what goes onto the wildlifeart website.
I have no idea where this blog is going but will stay true to making it authentic and frequent.

The attached photo was obviously taken in the 50"s. I have always proclaimed this bear ride to be more my kind of ride then the pony at the near by carnival tour. It's because of this photo that I am presently working on the black bear image in the studio.

When I decide on an animal to paint there begins a series of necessary tasks. I surround myself with resource materials including publications , dvd's, and possible places to actually view the animal and of course this remarkable tool to the web of life.

With such extensive preparation I become personally acquainted with each animal and as articles and information come to the surface , there is much to include in the image beyond the basic shape. Also, one doesn't go far into animal research before running into the issues of survival.

That being said, I must admit that this photo makes me sad for the female or young bear giving me the experience of a ride. How many others were there in grocery store parking lots with chained harnesses and waiting for the next kid to come along.
Thank you little black bear. I'll make a difference with you in mind.