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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Upright and Breathing.

I never knew it could be so hard. People keep telling me, "Michelle, you've had heart surgery." And so I have. On September 11, I had my mitral valve repaired. Such a little structure. Had been leaking very badly, slowing me down all summer. Fixed now. So where is all my energy? 

What has amazed me the most is how hard it was to paint again. I can understand becoming exhausted going to the grocery store, but standing there moving my fingers? I thought I was going to spend my recovery time painting! But painting takes a whole level of energy greater than needed for other things. It's not that physical, but expends huge mental and emotional energy. I'm finally feeling better, and have been able to paint almost daily (if I don't have to go to the grocery store, too). Not for long sessions, but even a short session feels good and makes some progress on a piece. I've been finishing up some starts, and reworking pieces that, well, needed work.

Nap time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Going to the next level

I am pleased to have participated in a mentoring program with master pastelist, Albert Handell. This was an opportunity to take my painting skills to the next level. I painted outside, every day, morning and afternoon, then attended class in the evenings. Exhausting but thrilling, at the same time! 

An interested observer purchased one of the paintings I did, right off my easel. She is one of my newest fans, and I love having her as a collector. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Portrait Workshop

July of 2007 I took a long anticipated portrait painting class with renowned pastel artist, Daniel Green. In addition to painting and learning, I made some new friends. I recently received this photo from one of those friends of myself in class with one of the portraits I painted. Randy, the model, has an impressive collection of outfits to wear while posing, and I especially enjoyed painting his head wear. Receiving the photo was a reminder of how much I enjoy painting from life.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Long Lake -Spring

Long Lake Park is one of our favorite places to paint. We have been there in all seasons and weather. This day was during the change of seasons, with fresh spring green and last year's leftover dried leaves presenting a challenge to paint. The effort was well worth it, as the grouping has received many positive comments from viewers.  

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lovely Lupines

Every year I am struck anew by fields of blooming lupines. I can't help but smile, and to paint them! They are one of my most popular subjects, as the paintings are quickly purchased. I did mini's this year-4x6 inches-plus I hope to do some larger pieces. Watch for them.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spring has sprung

Everything changes before my eyes this time of year! I can't paint fast enough or often enough. Now is when the forest floor is covered with blooming trilliums. As I paint, I am accompanied by the music of the breeze in the trees and the birdsong. This is much better than 25 degrees below zero.

"Trillium Trail"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Painting Green

It was the first paint-out of the spring this weekend. I painted with my usual partners, plus enjoyed an added bonus of painting with fellow members of the Lake Country Pastel Society. Everything was so green! New leaves on the trees, new growth all around. Green, green, green! Such a change in palette colors from the winter! It was exciting to paint, and I guess I got absorbed in my work: a fellow painter noticed I had painted myself as well as my paper. To see the painting I was working on, visit

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Plein air perils

 Outside the Norm

Plein Air painting is painting outside on location, which has its rewards and challenges. The sounds of the area, the feel of the light, and the weather conditions become a part of the creative process. Finding a bathroom can be tricky.

Recently, I was visiting an unfamiliar city on personal business and decided to scout a painting spot. My attempts to find a suitable painting spot were disappointing: There must be parking off the road, a scenic subject, no high-speed traffic whizzing by, and no loose dogs. I finally found a promising spot late in the afternoon. It was a quiet road just off a main street; there was a pull-off for my car; there were no houses in view, only rolling farm fields (plenty of time to spy approaching dogs). I thought about how it would look as the sun sank lower in the evening, backlighting the spring trees against the yet unplanted fields.

As I was scouting, a car pulled up next to my old, green station wagon. I wondered if it was the farmer whose field I was near. Sometimes farmers offer cookies and lemonade. I started down the hill to my car, hoping they were chocolate chip cookies.

The driver of the other car pulled back onto the pavement and rolled down his window. I could see a head wearing a cap sticking out of the window, but we were still quite a few yards apart, not at conversational distance. But, he yelled out to me anyway.

 “Is that your car?”

 “Yes,” I called back.

Still shouting, he said, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

I shook my head.

“Where are you from?” 


“Why are you here?” he hollered.

“To go to the Mayo clinic.”

“No, why are you here?”

Continuing to yell over the noise of the traffic on the main street, I answered, “I’m a painter. I’m looking for a place to paint.”


Before rolling his window back up, he announced, “I’m the Captain of the “neighborhood watch”. I guess I won’t call the sheriff on you.”

Would the sheriff know a better place to paint, I wondered? And, wait a minute, Mr. Neighborhood, what ever happened to neighborly places where people ask, “Do you need any help?

I drove back to my hotel room for supper. I didn’t get back to paint that spot because it clouded up and started raining. But it was a lovely field.

So, if you see my green station wagon pulled to off the road, please feel free to come see what I’m doing. Cookies and lemonade are optional. And call the sheriff only if he or she can give me directions to the nearest public restroom.





Monday, April 28, 2008

Artists of Minnesota

The Artists of Minnesota meet two times yearly at locations across the state. This year was in Brainerd. The event is always a good time: connecting with artist friends, enjoying a variety of artwork, and checking out the local art scene. I had hoped to spend some time painting outside, but was surprised by a major snowstorm! Blowing winds and 12 inches of snow made it very unpleasant for painting outside, so I had to satisfy myself by cruising the art store. There's always something I "need".

Here I am with two of my paintings in the exhibit.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Winter winds down

Just a few days before the official start of spring I was out painting. It may not look  like spring to some, but look closely, my jacket is open, the ice is receding, you can almost see color coming to the twigs of the branches. We have to be optimistic here in Minnesota. Soon there will be daffodils.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Silent Snow Shining Sun

Shadows on the snow! I feel a new series coming on, and here's one to start. The title is a big   "Thank you!" to my daughter. Painting is what I do, the titles come with much more difficulty.
The finished painting is 6x10 inches, matted and framed in a warm wood, to 12x16.  

Monday, February 18, 2008

Winter Melody

Every season has its challenges for a painter. In winter, it's the temperature, which was about zero on this day. This spot was out of the wind, and I could feel the warmth of the sun as I painted.  I hope you can feel the winter sun, and enjoy the rhythm of the rolling hill and rustling grasses. The finished painting is 9x12 inches.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Winter Shadows

Happy New Year!

I was playing around on the Web, and it seems I created myself a blog! The good news is that I will be better able to keep you up to date on my art and paintings. There is much planned for 2008!