Thursday, December 24, 2009


Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Christmas coming

This is a gift from friends in Sweden. Lucia Day is celebrated Dec 13.
Maggie Loves the snow and is waiting for me to come out and toss snow balls so she can catch them. If she weren't outside she would be pawing my leg to let her out. She'll have to wait awhile. I'm stayin' in for now.

This what we have so far today. There's about 20 inches of snow and it isn't stopping until tomorrow. Yea ! A white Christmas like I remember as a kid in western PA. As long as I don't have to go anywhere....LET IT SNOW !

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Aqueous Open

This past weekend I was back in western PA and to the opening reception of the 63 rd Aqueous in Pittsburgh. This is an exhibit I recall my watercolor proff ( Robert Hild ) talking about when I was in college. ( Must have been a new one back then !)

The juror was Frank Graff, AWS,NWS,TWSA. From 221 entries from 26 states and Canada he had the task of choosing 60 pieces for the show and 12 award winners. I was honestly astounded when someone called last week to say that Indian Corn #8 was to receive an award ( They wouldn't say which or what kind of ). Turns out it was
the "Winsor Newton Award". The English
company is known for it's profesional grade
art supplies and the prize was a great travel set of watercolor paints.
The show is up through the 28th of November so if you find yourself in the Pittsburgh,PA area, stop in at the BE galleries on Buter Street.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Norman, New England and the Darling Clarice

....Or "What I did on my Summer vacation".
Yes, I realize it is the end of October but we are now in the stage of life where vacations are not dictated by the public school calendar. So, last week we headed up to Connecticut and Massachusetts to retrace steps in one of our former neighborhoods and to check out the Fall leaves. Yes, MD has colored leaves in the Fall, but the grass is always greener or the leaves always colorfuller...yadda, yadda.

We passed through Litchfield, CT and stopped to visit a college friend, meet her family and talk to the animals. Clarice is a beautiful llama, one of two, and queen of the farm. ( I won't mention what Louise's husband calls her. Not flattering but funny. ) Shy of hands, she welcomes you with warm fuzzy kisses. Love is a warm fuzzy llama kiss.
We continued on, (in the snow ) to Stockbridge, MA our base for the week. One of our day trip destinations was the Norman Rockwell Museum, just outside of town. Now, Norman gets a bad rap for being a self professed illustrator and too American quaint, but I like his work. Call me sappy but I do. And it was a thrill to see one of his studios that had been moved to the museum location. With the use of older photos the staff had arranged the studio as it was when he used it, including the order of the placement of the books on the shelves. One photo reveled a napping Rockwell curled up on the green sofa perhaps recharging after a morning of painting. Another reason to like him, justifiable naps !
I of course sent the link to this blog to my friend and her response follows. I thought others would enjoy it ! One obviously needs a sense of humor with a llama.

.... the pic is lovely, and the words capture the essence of llama. One loves the llama for just being a llama.... nothing more. How simple life is when you break it down that far! Dogs demand (sun connures, I guess, take demand to a whole new level....) kids expect,
and so it goes. The llama just enjoys life for the moment, spits when the need arises to resolve conflicts and arguements, then goes back to relazing and enjoying life. They do pause for "tea" daily at 3, retreating to their shed for an hour of quiet(er) reflection, then back out by 4:30 to await dinner service. Queen though she is, Clair is a benevolent dictator. And yes,the only thing better than a soft llama kiss is one followed by the sweet scent of grassy-burp right in your face.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Yesterday was a day for friends. An old one : The Little White Girl (Whistler)
A new one: Vickie Branas (above right) and getting to know better
one whom I've come to know through the world of water color ( Debi Watson) . The three of us spent an enjoyable day at the National Gallery in DC. The crowds were gone, the weather was miserable and it was a perfect day to spend inside surrounded by art. These little trips always get the juices going, to keep painting and renews my interests. It is especially nice to have friends along to share the expeience.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Morning at Steven's Studio

I just returned from a delightful morning at Steven Dobbins studio in Mt. Airy, MD. He opened his studio for anyone that wanted to drop in and see what was going on. He is in the final preparations for an upcoming show in NYC at the Cuasey Contemporary Gallery , Brooklyn. Steven is a fellow member of TAG (The Artist's Gallery ) in Frederick, MD where he last year had a "trial run" of this show. Hey, if it plays well in Frederick take it to New York ! Upon entering the studio one comes face to face with more than a few paint cans that he has emptied,dried, treated, some repainted the insides, cut or bent, drilled, wired and anything else that the muse tells him to do. He is planning to stack the cans in a couple free standing pieces and another piece will cover a large section of wall space as it did at TAG. New to the mix is at least two pieces consisting of the can lids wired together as almost a fabric to be draped or hung. While I was there a couple other colleagues showed up and it was a great time discussing art and materials, shows, studios, etc. Times like this are inspirational. Whenever I'm with this group I feel like a "real" artist and I want to run home and make stuff. Thanks Steven !

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to the 'Burgh

We were back to Pittsburgh,PA a couple weekends ago to my husbands 40th high school reunion. Actually Hopewell,PA but it's close enough to the 'Burgh. My friends know me to like to "knock" this part of the country and I figure it's OK because I come from around there myself. But it does have a lot going for it, too. Besides the obvious championship teams, there was a lot of history happened here during the settling of our nation. An important crossroads ( or rivers ) for commerce and departure for people heading west during the 17/1800s to the high tech industry which continues today, as well as notable schools of higher education and top notch medical centers. Not to mention the G 20 meeting held there last week. Pittsburgh knows how to make a great "first impression". First time visitors traveling from the airport to down town are greeted instantly to one of the most beautiful city skylines as they come through the Mt Washington "tube". The view jumps right atchya. The trip was topped off by bringing Milos mom back with us for a visit to the DC area. We took her to see the Space Shuttle near Dulles and in to the District to the American Indian Museum. She also got to spend some time with Henry ( Nicks Sun Conure ) but only through the bars. Henry has issues . Described as a two year old with a can opener on his face, he has trouble making new friends.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Corn, corn, corn

My "rural upbringing" is showing again. One of my favorite activities as a girl on my grandparents farm ( besides jumping off the roof of the grain room into the broken bales of hay ) was to run through the rows of corn, slapping the leaves. I don't know what it is about corn but it does seem to grab my attention in any form. Some day I plan to revisit the Indian corn series, but for now I have to do some paintings of the lush fields of corn that are every where here. It was a wonderful spring with the rainfall making up for the drought of the past summers and the farmers are reaping the rewards. I had to stop along the road and take photos of the sun and shadows patterns on the broad leaves and the abstraction of the way the leave overlap and lead in varying directions. This is the first one in what I hope will be series as successful as the Indian corn. I also made an effort to see what greens I could mix. There are a bizillion greens in the world and something special about the greens of a corn leaf. Is it me or as artists are we all dealing with a challenge to mix green ? Or are we confined to what the manufactures are able to make for us? I am determined to find my green without blue dominating the painting. It did creep in here but hey, it's a start.
My sincere apologies to all that posted comments on the past two posts ! It was only when I went to compose this post that I noticed I had comments to monitor. Pryor comments always came to me via email and I'm not sure what happened this time. I just thought everyone was away on vacation and not checking in on me. Thanks again to all !

Monday, August 17, 2009

Becca and Jared Are Married

This past Saturday our niece Rebecca and Jared were married on the beautiful grounds of Hartwood mansion near Pittsburgh, PA. Of course everything was out of this world gorgeous; the bride, the groom, the setting, the day. Well, it was beastly hot but that's just one more memory for the book.
I snapped more than a few photos and a good many will be put in the "to paint " pile which grows higher each day. Hope you see one or two of these sometime soon.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shamless Self Promtion

Last week I dropped off Jersey Girl (bottom left on post card ) for the PWS annual show. This year the show is in Reading, PA at Goggleworks Center For The Arts Cohen Gallery with the reception being Sunday, August 9 from 3-5 PM.
I am so honored to be a part of this prestigious show and as this is the second year accepted, it permits me to include PWS after my signature.
Pinch me.
Visit for directions. Hours are
Mon-Sat 9-9,Sundays 11-7

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lunch Time for Becca

Well, this really took longer than I wanted. I think I escaped without overworking too many areas and there was certainly a few things learned on this one, too. A lot learned but I can truely say it was fun to do, so perhaps there will be other window paintings.
Iwould have liked more washes on the red but backed off. I'm happy with the reflections and how they trick the eyes when they see something and then it gets lost again in the painting.
There are sections better than others but that is for me to know and you to point them out to me. So ...let me have it folks. I welcome all comments and constructive criticism . Oh, I might mention too, that this is the first one I did without stretching and I haven't framed it yet. So, some of the "straight" edges might not look too straight. I will be able to flaten it but please offer any tips on framing without a mat.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wow, where does the time go ? It's not like I haven't been on the computer. Just having too much fun reading others blogs and playing on Facebook with friends. Now it's back to work with all engines full.
This is a piece I started last week for my niece from a photo she took in London. Quite a surprise when she sent me the photo. I was expecting a London street or quaint European village. She said she just thought it was really funny to see this car in a store window.
It's a full sheet done with transparent watercolor. I'm having a grand time with all the reflections which are time consuming but I don't find too difficult but it does give me renewed respect for John Salminen.(Looking forward to his workshop with the BWS in 2011 !!) I plan (hope) to continue with what you see overall then go back to deepen the darks with out overworking. I also am not satisfied yet with the reds. I am never satisfied with reds. If any one out there knows what reds W. Homer used, please clue me in. It's been a constant search for years. I even went back to the exhibit at the National Gallery several times esp. to take notes while pouring over his paints and sketches. You know that warm, orange/red, geranium red ? Any way, hopefully the darker darks will make the reds jump. This is only the first wash to establish the lightest areas.
I haven't posted work in progess before ( too insecure ). If I'm away too long, you'll know I'm still at it. Becca, don't peek.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A plein air (re)treat

Many,many,many THANK YOUs to Susan and Bill Johnson for a wonderful two days at their mountain "getaway" home in western Maryland.
Susan and I were water color students a couple years, well a few, OK a really long time ago at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. Having since kept in contact with a group of plein air artists from Switzerland and France, she and Bill played hosts last week to these artists well as some members of the West Virginia Water Color Society.
Their beautifully unique home was constucted from materials saved from deconstructed buildings. It appears as the builder came upon a treasure he hauled it there and built a room around it. Thus the bell towers and leaded and stain glass windows, oak panels and even kitchen cabinets from a chem lab from a school. Equally charming is the setting. The house is perched along a hill a short walk across a covered bridge from a mountain stream and reservoir. This place is the dream of every artist or other person with even an ounce of imagination.
A picture really is worth a thousand words, esp. when one doesn't speak French ! It was interesting to see the different approaches each artist took to interpret the location. And after a day of painting...ah, the wine, the food, the wine...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ooops ! Must have been one of my frequent senior moments ! How could I have forgotten that I had done an other floral ! I guess that because it wasn't done super realisticly, I didn't think of it. Still, don't look for me to take over the market on floral paintings .

Friday, June 12, 2009

Geeze, it's been forever since I posted anything but just as long that I've had anything worthy of showing or blabbing about, it seems. Above is the latest. I don't know if I have ever done a floral painting before. I think they have to be incredibly special to hold my interest so I leave it to those that do them portraits.
This was from a photo I took down at the Strathmore when I went to pick up Jersey Girl . The photo is really neat. The Peony was white but like most things white , except for paint samples, there were a bazillion colors . The suttle colors of the center just glowed. Since I had been doing a series of failures anyway, I figured what the heck, do a flower. Not sure I'll be doing too many more.
I'm hoping to try out my brand new watercolor easel that I bought two years ago (!) when I travel back to western PA. I found a dear friend and painting buddy from college ( thank you Facebook ) with a mountain home in western MD. Seems there is a gathering of international painters desending on that part of the world next week and we thought we'd join in. It's been a very long time since I've done any plein air painting.
Might be all the rain we've had lately but the muses seem to be on vacation. Others have noticed the same thing... ( misery likes company ? ). Or perhaps after a bit of success one is punished for resting on laurels. The trip to the mountains may be what I need to get the juices flowing again. Or the mesquitos and ticks may be enough to chase me back into the studio with renewed determination.
Thank you to the increasing new friends that have found this blog and decided to hang around. It only encourages me...good or bad ?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

To our family members and friends that served this country, Thank you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

For several weeks now the term "series" has come up in conversations and articles and blogs. So I'm taking the hint from the muse spirits or whomever and adding my two cents.
I had never done a series before until about three years ago, for whatever reason. Perhaps nothing grabbed my attention enough to pursue it farther than one attempt. Perhaps it was a maturity thing, where I wasn't afraid to fail (or succeed ) at a particular subject more than once. ( Oh, the things the years teach us. ) But really I think it had more to do with the intrigue of the frozen, cracked kernels of Indian corn that had been tossed out on the deck after Thanksgiving.
I have often said the high I get from doing water colors is the process, watching the image take shape on the paper from the layers of color and the deepening values. I enjoy trying to see how deep I can get into that third dimension. So with the corn series each piece became more detailed in the shape of the kernels and the depth of the spaces in between. The first ones were merely similar shapes of flat color. Honey comb with a bad dye job. Although, I do like the one shown here with it's abstract quality. ( Does it count if it was unintentional ? ...hmm, I wonder how many artists admit to that ? )
I intend to revisit the corn soon, if I don't get distracted with the bazillion other subjects on my list. A dear friend told me that she thought I would be known for the corn paintings and I laughed. Then I delivered last years entry to the Baltimore Water Color Society's Regional show and the person checking things in exclaimed "Oh, the corn lady!"....geeze.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 15,1979 Thirty years ago !

Last weekend we were invited to a surprise birthday party for our son and one of his friends. Those involved reserved the upstairs of Ryleighs in Baltimore, a great bar and seafood restaurant . It's one of their favorite hangouts and I can see why, too. The food was great and the entire area around Cross Street Market is full of festive atmosphere.

Inspite of, or because ,we had moved a few times in his young life, Nick always found it easy to make and keep friends. By the number in attendence that night it looks like he's kept quite a few. Thanks Kit for including us in the fun !
Happy 30 th Nick !

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Flat Files !

One of my pastimes is to troll craigslist and check out "creative gigs" and art jobs and things that artists are getting rid of. All my adult artist life I've wanted flat files but was too cheap to spend the money on a new unit. Wouldn'tchya know craigslist had a post by someone near me that was selling theirs. Whoohoo ! I drove to Baltimore in our trusty pick'em up truck, to a neighborhood where I had never been and loaded the million layers of paint which had the files attached. All for a very good price I might add. That was this fall. They spent the winter in our garage waiting for warmer weather and a makeover. So, a couple quarts of stripper, several cans of paint primer and some Rustoleum paint plus several hours of scrapping,wiping,cleaning,spraying,painting....the results are to the right. It's so nice to have a place to put mat board, water color paper etc.,etc. Plus it makes a great work station for cutting mats, painting and any other flat work that needs done.....except folding laundry !

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ohio Girls Meet Jersey Girl

Timing is everything . Several weeks ago my sister called and wanted to know if I was "up for company ". She knows she never has to ask . I welcome her visits anytime especially when her daughter comes along. We've made so many memories, the three of us! Anyway, last weekend when they came was also the time of the BWS reception at the Strathmore in Rockville, Md.

The show is great; consisting of 95 wonderful paintings by well know artists of the Mid-Atlantic region. This is the second year I've been selected to take part...I don't want to say I'm getting a big head or anything, but I was feeling pretty proud that Sunday afternoon. ( And after all, Debi Watson said in her blog today that it's ok to brag. )

We have lived many places most of which are no where near to the rest of family so to have a cheering section all my own at something like this is really special.

Monday, April 6, 2009

BWS Mid-Atlantic Regional

Yesterday was "drop off " day for the Baltimore Watercolor Society's annual exhibit at the Strathmore mansion in Rockville,MD. When I got there, the place was all ready filling up with absolutely fabulous watercolor paintings. The venue itself is worth the visit but this show is always sensory overload for anyone who enjoys watercolors. I try to visit several times, not so much to show off to friends ( well, yeah, ok. ) but I enjoy looking at other peoples work. I look to see how they handle some subjects or interpret different textures. Someone asked how to overcome "painters block",or a dry spell in what to paint. I always go to a gallery, either in person or on line and I come away wanting to jump right in again. I never seem to have a lack of ideas. My problem is remembering them later. If you are in the Washington,DC area this month try to catch the show. I promise you won't be dissapointed.

The show runs April 10 thru May 23.
Hours are : Monday,Tuesday,Thursday, Friday 10 a.m. -4 p.m.;
Wednesday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.;
Saturday 10 a.m. - 3p.m.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

TAG '09 Box Show Closing

March 28, 2009. Saturday night was the closing bids/reception for The Artists' Gallery box show. The rainy weather put a tad dampness to the fun but the event was a success regardless. Lots of people came early, checked their bid status, sampled Dan's light lager and stayed 'till the 8:00 closing bell. As usual they staked out a spot by their chosen box, guarding it's bid like a penguin and it's egg.
One could sense the tenseness in the air as the time grew closer to the end. ( ok, I tend to get carried away ).
But it was exciting . Everyone seemed delighted to take home their winning box...a piece of art work by one of their favorite local a bargain price. Success is also measured in that the gallery brought in a sizable profit to offset expences. As you can see by the photo of the "Box Farm ", not all the entries were restricted to the confines of an eight inch cube. Which makes the possibilities endless. I'm already thinking towards next year. Wanna make one too ?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cherry Blossom Status

Yesterday my husband and I took the first of the season's jaunts into the District to check on the cherry blossoms. The weather has been increasingly spring like with yesterdays temperatures near 70 F . As expected the buds are still rather tight but it looks like they may be right on schedule for the festival which is usually the last week in March through the first week in April. The perfect bud for me is one that is a few days before peak bloom, when it is still mostly pink and all the trees paint a wash of color around the tidal basin. There were signs of Spring every where. The paddle boats are in the water, softball games were starting and there was an increase of tour bus traffic on the highway. I couldn't resist taking the photo of the trolley tour as it passed us. It's exciting to be a tourist but always great fun to watch them , too.
This weekend is the closing of the Box Show at the gallery ! I'll be sure to post an update and photos of the mayhem.