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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Buy local - ART! Dec 5th event!

Get it Local Gift Fair – Dec. 5, 2009

Saturday, Dec. 5 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Peace United Church of Christ, 1111 N. 11th Ave E.

This is the 3rd year for the fair that has over 25 local artists and a mix of nonprofits providing key services and support in the area.

What you will find there: artwork, pottery, jewelry, felted and sewn items, and so many unique items.

I will have paintings, prints, and notecards. Something for everyone. Make someone happy-give art as a gift!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why an artist needs to go to art shows

I was fortunate enough to go to a much coveted art exhibit today by one of my favorite local artists, Jeffery T. Larson. What a feast for the eyes! hadn't seen one of his shows in years. The web show is awesome, but nothing like seeing art in life! Having seen what can be done with paint has really charged me up to paint more and better. So, if you are an artist or love to look at art, get yourself to an exhibit!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kelley Gallery Mini Show 2009-Who's on the cover?

I just received a copy of the program for this year's Mini Show. The paintings are really lovely, and include mostly still life and landscape. I looked for work from those artists I know, and checked out the paintings I liked best. I noticed a friend has one of her pieces on the cover! Good work! Then I looked again. One of my paintings is on the cover!

The show ends Oct 25, so hurry to check the website and see what you love!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 5

Rain today. We had been blessed by such fabulous weather, but painting outside in the rain is not the pastel artist's favorite thing. Plan B was a space in the local rec center. There we could work on pieces we had started on other days, or start a new piece. Hmmm. Some still lifes were set up, others looked out the window. I checked the views out the windows, and decided on a little apple tree growing nearby. I liked the sweep of the tree's branches with it's gift of little red apples.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 4

Rocks. More rocks today. Lakeshore rocks and river rocks. I must be learning something, though, as the river rock piece turned out well! I looked hard for a group of rocks against the water with some sun. Not asking too much. And I worked at it, darks to lights, and added the calligraphic cracks. It was fun! I look forward to doing more rock paintings.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kelley Gallery Mini Show 2009

I am pleased to have three paintings included in this year's Kelley Gallery Mini Show, now through the month of October.

A small canvas can have great impact and make a space more beautiful. See for yourself! You may visit the gallery in Woodbury, or see the paintings on line:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 3

Another beautiful day for us to paint outside en plein air in our mentoring class with Albert Handell. We go to Lutsen Resort for the whole day. The resort on the shore of Lake Superior offers a beautiful beach, gardens, a unique building, hiking trails, covered bridges, and the reason we have come, a river with some spectacular falls.

There are views of the river from one of the bridges as well as from the rocky outcroppings along the river. We are accompanied by the roar of the rushing water as we paint. Rocks and rushing water are difficult subjects for me. I set up on the rocks and set to work. The water is surprisingly much darker than the rocks, and is a rich brown, colored by tannins in the water. Careful observation shows green and purple, reflections of the trees and sky. The foam of the churning falls is root-beer colored. Do I have a root-beer colored pastel?

Again we work from 9 until about 4, with a break for lunch in the resort's dining room (excellent walleye sandwich). I learned a lot from the work with rocks and water. My painting partner finished a piece on later date at this spot that won first place in the Grand Marais Plein Air Festival.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pastel painting reworked

One if the things about attending a class is that you look at all your paintings with a new eye. I was holding off framing this piece because I wasn't quite happy with it, but I didn't know how to improve it. If in doubt, simplify. So, with a few well placed strokes of pastel I was able to turn this piece into a much better painting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 2 afternoon

One of the subjects Albert Handell ( is known for is rocks: big rocks, rocky outcropping, rocks with still water, rocks with moving water. This afternoon started a series of visits to sites with rocks. Albert, our mentor and teacher, chose a small falls over the rocks. Instructions included for us to paint the underlying rocks first, then lay the water over the rocks. Sounds easy enough. I struggle with rocks, and the moving water was an added challenge. I practiced the falls by making some studies, and took breaks to watch the progress of Albert's painting. So much can be learned by watching a master paint.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 2 morning

Another beautiful Lake Superior day dawns, and we go back down to the lake. The rocky formation is called "Artist's Point", and there is enough inspiration here to keep an artist busy and happy for many days. Our teacher starts right in on a complex rocky outcropping. It's amazing to watch the painting emerge from the paper, bit by bit. More on that another day.

Looking SW the Sawtooth Mountains are visible receding into the distance. I am able to finish a small piece featuring them. I like the shapes, and I paint a nice sky, one of my favorite subjects.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 1 afternoon

The class went up the north shore of Lake Superior to a rocky beach. Piles of driftwood were all along the shore. Our teacher immediately set to work. It was amazing to see how he took such a complex scene, simplified it, and produced a beautiful painting. He demonstrated how to use cast shadows on the driftwood to show the curve of the log, and to create interest along the length of the log with changing colors.

I did a study of driftwood and was able to incorporate some of the lessons. I look forward to using what I learned in a finished piece.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plein air Intensive Workshop Day 1 morning

Monday morning 9:00 out on the Lake Superior rocks in Grand Marais. Clear and sunny, how lucky can I be? I gathered with the class around our teacher,
Albert Handell ( while he did a demo using pastels to create a beautiful painting. Then it was time for me to paint. The rocks and water provided plenty of inspiration. But workshops can be difficult, because you're learning new things, yet feel like you have to paint well, because people are watching, even if they are fellow students who are also anxious about learning new things and painting well... .

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Plein Air Intensive Workshop with Albert Handell in Grand Marais, MN

Preparing for a class is more than packing the paper and pastels, especially one like this one. We will be painting outside ("plein air") every day, one site in the morning, one in the afternoon, for 5 days. Beautiful Grand Marais has plenty of subject matter for us. We must be prepared for weather ranging from sunny and 80 degrees, to raining and 45 degrees. We carry our painting supplies over rocks, streams, through campgrounds, into ravines. There are sometimes nearby bathrooms. Our instructor paints along with us, but does not directly teach while he and we paint.

In the evenings, we meet with our mentor, Albert ( This is when the teaching happens. There is a critique of the day's painting, and then instruction. Painting all day outside can be tiring, but there is always plenty of energy in the room for the evening mentoring. It's why we are there, and where the real work happens. I have goals for painting (better rocks), for my technique (finish a painting on site, not in the studio later), for my vision (does my viewer feel it?).

But how do I get ready for that?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To Crop or not to Crop...the right size for a painting

While struggling with a painting that wasn't working the other day, a painting friend reminded me about the benefits of cropping. Today in my studio I dug through my stash of unresolved paintings and applied the crop theory. One was immediately improved, and is now ready to frame
("Lupine Field" ). Another I am still struggling with. Then I remembered that instead of playing around with pieces of cardboard to crop, I could use the computer. So here is the painting and some options. I even came up with a diptych option which I hadn't thought of earlier.

What do you think?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Painting a dog portrait in Conté.

"Cloe" has been a big hit. She has such big brown eyes, and that look. Many pet owners have asked about having their pet painted, but are not ready to pay for a full portrait. Enter "Cloe", painted in Conté. Conté is pigment compressed into sticks, and is much harder in texture than pastels, which are also pigment compressed into sticks, but very soft in texture. Conté uses earth pigments and comes in a range of tones from black to white. Pastels use a full color spectrum of pigments and are much more expensive to make and take more skill to paint with them. I am also able to use Conté on less expensive paper. These factors help make a Conté sketch a lower priced option for portraits.

Contact me for details on how you can have that portrait you would enjoy so much. I am happy to be able to offer different options.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pet Portrait in Pastel-"Cloe"

As in many offices, a coworker, Julia, at my "day-job" has snapshots of her pet posted at her desk. There was one I always admired, as it seemed to capture the sweet personality of the dog. I finally felt like I had the skill to attempt to interpret the photo into a pastel painting. I asked to borrow the photo, as well as another one that better showed the coloring of the dog, so that I could paint it. I'm not sure Julia knew what to expect in a "painting" of her beloved pet by a coworker, but she was very pleased when I presented the finished portrait for her to see.

A painted portrait is more that a picture on the wall-it's art. (Thanks, Julie G. for letting me use your quote!)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Art in Paris

A trip to Paris! What an event for a painter! The city itself is fabulously beautiful, even the food is beautiful.  The highlights of my "musee" visits were paintings by the Impressionists and pastels by various painters. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to see pastel portraits by Quentin de la Tour, quite a popular portraitist in the 1700's.  And true to pastel work, the paintings were as fresh and colorful as the day they were painted. I soaked up what I could from paintings by Degas and Cassatt. Seeing the original is truing being with it. You can stand back, get up close, see the marks, experience the light and mood.Too many paintings, not enough time!
A bientot!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paint Out at the Covered Bridge

Zumbrota, Minnesota is home of the last remaining covered bridge in the state. A yearly festival is held in the park and at the bridge. This year the wonderful and amazing Crossings Gallery ( sponsored a "Quick Draw" at the bridge on Saturday. 

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the paint out. It was my first plein air competition. Painters had from 5-7PM to start and complete a painting!  And then frame it to display and to be viewed by the judge and festival attendees! Could I do it? Yes!!!! I did! 

I was pleased with the resulting painting, I was able to meet painters from around the area, and was able to appreciate the variety of media and styles the finished paintings were created with. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kiss of Spring

I started this painting on location before the trees leafed out, finished it this morning in my studio. The grass was turning green, and there was the barest hint of new green growth in the cattails. The buds on the trees were noticeably bigger from morning to afternoon. I guess that's why it's called "spring"!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Artists of Minnesota

The Artists of Minnesota (http:/ meet twice yearly, and the spring meeting includes an art competition. I have accumulated awards over the years and now compete at the highest level, "Super Gold". Tough competition here, with all participants being top winners from the "advanced" category. My entries this year each were honored with Merit awards. It's always nice to have hard work recognized and enjoyed by fellow artists. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Whew! Duluth Art Institute and ShipRock Art Gala in one night!

I couldn't pull off being in two places at once, but  I did get to both of the events. They were the kind of art events I like-lots of people enjoying themselves and enjoying my paintings. I especially like to watch the faces of people who really love the work, the intake of breath, smile, and exclamations.  

At the Duluth Art Institute I was invited with five other landscape artists to exhibit in a special exhibit in the Great Hall at the Duluth Depot.  I had not met all of the other artists before, so I got to meet them and enjoy their work. It was nice to match the faces to the  paintings, some of whose work has been familiar to me for years, other whose work is new to me. New friends and old came to celebrate with me. Thank you!

ShipRock Management put on their Art Gala for the third year. I was happy to be able to participate again this year. This was a really fun crowd,  a mix of walks of life, all there to celebrate with Andy and Blake and their associates. Thank you, ShipRock.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Poetry in Pictures

I participated in the Poet/Artist Collaboration at Crossings Gallery in April ( 25 poets submitted poems and 25 juried artists each picked a poem to illustrate. The poem I chose celebrated how fleeting patterns of light can transform even the most lowly objects into objects of beauty. For my subject I chose eggplants. And to really challenge myself, I painted them in oils, with a painting knife rather than a brush. They were such great fun to paint, I did two! One 11x14 for the exhibit, and one 6x8.I named them "Kitchen Jewels". At the reception for the exhibit the poet was pleased with what her poem inspired. Painting is such an adventure, you never know what it will bring.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Portrait painting with Leslie DeMille

I was fortunate to participate in a week long intensive portrait painting workshop given by Leslie DeMille, a nationally esteemed portrait painter. We painted 7 portraits in 5 days! I learned some new techniques and how to use a new paper. Les was patient with us all, and the skills I learned will improve not only the portraits I paint, but all my paintings. 

"Wes" on velour paper, a new surface for me. I like the texture!

"Dane" with with himself. I was experimenting with colored paper. Not my favorite, but fun. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gramma's Bowls

When I started this series of paintings, I did it because I liked the look of the bowls. But it turns out that these bowls are much more than something nice to look at. Since the series has been exhibited it seems that everyone's grandmother had bowls like these. Yellow-ware, green window pane, with and without stripes, some with spatters. Which helps explain how enthusiastically people have responded to the exhibit. 

See more photos of the bowl paintings on my Facebook page!

I was fun listening to the stories at the reception. What did YOUR grandmother have? Share your story with me.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Antique Ceramic Bowls

A woman I know has a fine collection of bowls that were her grandmother's. I was admiring them one day, and asked if I could borrow some to use in paintings. I selected three. I took them to my studio, set them up, moved them around, added other props, and started painting. The first one turned out beautifully, so I tried another. Then another. Then, how about one in oil rather than my usual pastel? Soon I had a collection of very nice paintings. I took them up to Ely to show the grandma and her family. They all really enjoyed the paintings. I am now able to share them with every one! The paintings will be in an exhibit :

Gramma's Bowls
Just for the Season Gallery
Holiday Center Downtown Duluth

March 24- April 25

Artist Reception 
Thursday March 26
5-7 pm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In the Frame

I love creating my paintings. But then comes the framing. It's my goal to have my own framer someday, but for now, I'm the framer. To simplify the process a little I stick mostly to two frames, a warm fruitwood, and a gold plein-air. Simplifying the framing also makes the paintings look better when they are exhibited together. This afternoon I was able to frame about 5 paintings, including this nice little piece that I did last summer.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Moonrise at the beach

I revisited a painting spot over the weekend to double check some elements of the scene: snow covered sand dunes down by The Lake. I knew the moon was going to be coming up, so I stayed in my (warm) car to wait. And it was beautiful! The colors in the snow were amazing: violet, turquoise, ultramarine, orange, and green! Photos come no where near capturing the colors. It is going to be fabulous to paint! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Finished Painting

Autumn Sky  is painted and framed, ready for display! It is a larger painting, done in the studio. It is a companion to a smaller painting done on-site, or en plein air. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Painting the sky

I love skies-always changing, beautiful clouds and colors. The sky sets the mood for the painting. Here I've done some more work, trying to capture the fabulous and rapidly changing late autumn clouds.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Starting a painting

Here I have a piece of sandpaper taped to a board in my studio. It is actual sandpaper which comes in large sheets. You can see the charcoal drawing on the paper, and the first application of color with pastels. 

 The drawing is from a photo I took while on a paint-out. I painted another scene from the park that day, and took a photo of this scene for later use in the studio. While painting outside, I use smaller sheets of paper, usually no bigger than 9x12 inches. I wanted to use a larger paper for this painting, 14x18 inches.