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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


It took a little trudging through the snow to get to this tree, but I was interested in it. I like the twisty trunk, the reaching branches, and the way the winter sun illuminates the scene. And I think the name fits it just right! 9x12 Pastel on Wallis paper.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wintry Field

There was a slide of this scene in my stash of reference materials for many years. Barns always interest me, and the corn stalks peeking through the snow kept the scene feeling warm. But could I pull off the rolling field and the kiss of frost on the trees? I started with a 6x8 inch study. That worked, so I then went for 9x18, on the large size for me. The snow is multicolored, and there are touches of red to keep it lively. Enjoy. Pastel.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Spruce

These trees are in my neighbor's front yard, and I get to see them every day. They have grown so much since we moved into our house. They change with the time of day, the light, and the seasons. Here they are in their winter finery.

The painting is a mini, 4x6 inches. It has been popular as a note card.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lyceum Theater Lives On.

It is sometimes unfortunate when beautiful old buildings are demolished before their time. Such was the fate of the Lyceum Theater in Duluth, MN. Parts of the building live on in a beautiful local garden. I was fortunate to be able to paint in the garden and included some of the stonework from the "Lyceum" name in the finished paintings. These paintings were recently rediscovered by me as I cleaned my studio. It would be better if people interested in theater or history could see them!

Who do you know who would enjoy them? Please feel free to send them a link to my blog, or contact me for a showing of the actual paintings.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still Life Subjects

What makes a good subject for a still life painting? An artist can be inspired by the sentiments evoked by an object, by what's available, or by the object's interesting shape or color. Just about anything goes. What's most important is how the artist handles the subject - arrangement and placement of objects, lighting, and point of view are some of the aspects to consider.

During a class I am teaching we had been painting one-object arrangements and the students had been doing well. A certain theme had developed among a group one of the class participants and I are in, and we decided to go with it. It required two objects. This was much more difficult, but the result was great fun in addition to learning. Please enjoy "Nice Rutabagas".

What has been your most unusual still life subject recently?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kelley Gallery Miniature Art Show

You are invited to the 2010 Kelley Gallery Miniature Art Show. I am one of over 45 artists accepted into the exhibit, and I have three paintings in the show. You can see the paintings on the Kelley website, preview the show, purchase one for yourself!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Fine Weekend at the Gibbs Farm Museum.

As a member of the Lake Country Pastel Society I painted at the Gibbs Farm Museum in August as a part of a class we were in. The farm is very interesting, with it's prairie, old buildings, and animals, giving us an abundance of subject matter. The museum director asked us to return to paint during their Apple Festival, and to exhibit finished paintings from class in their old school house. We were thrilled to accept their offer!

The weekend turned out to have perfect fall weather, and there was a big turn out. We painted, learned more about apples, informed visitors about the art of pastel painting, and were pleased to have some happy customers purchase paintings from the exhibit. I exhibited two paintings, and a visitor to the event purchased one of them. It’s always a special treat for me to meet the person who enjoyed my work enough to buy it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Plein Air Painting Competition

I was one of 41 artists participating in the 8th Annual Plein Air Painting Competition sponsored by the Grand Marais Art Colony.

"Plein air" means "in the open air" so we all painted outside, on location, all week.

Completed paintings are framed and exhibited at the Art Colony, then judged and awarded prizes by a prominent artist.

This was my second year in the event. Artists are allowed 2 entries into the general competition, plus optional night paint and quick paint entries. Last year it was my goal to finish a painting to enter. I like to paint at night, and I was able to finish one to enter for that, too. I was pleased with my pieces and enjoyed seeing them exhibited with all the other artists' work.

This year, my goal was two pieces for the general competition, plus my night piece. Did it! At the opening reception I was honored to have two of my paintings chosen to win awards - First and Third Place in the Pastel category of the general competition!

Enjoy! And a special thank you to my painting PALS and the Art Colony for their support!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reworking a Pastel Painting, "Serenity"

"Serenity" is one of a series I painting based on a view at a nearby lake. The series has been enjoyed by many, with people often telling me how it reminds them of summer evenings at their cabin. But no one ever loved it enough to give it a home.

One of the nice things about pastel paintings is that the "paint" never "dries". So I decided to re- work this painting, to capture something that was missing. Well, it must have worked, because one of my regular collectors saw it and bought it immediately at it's first public viewing! SOLD to someone who will enjoy it for many years to come. Thank you!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One View, Three Visions

Plein Air Painters of Lake Superior

Michelle Wegler, Lisa Stauffer, Cheryl LeClair-Sommer August 10 through August 27, 2010

Opening Reception August 20, 6 to 9 p.m.

Gallery Hours

Tuesday through Saturday

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Art Reach St. Croix + St. Croix Galleries

224 North 4th Street

Stillwater, MN


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Winter into Spring II

Ahhhhh! Spring! I paint outside in all seasons, but it sure feels nice to stand and paint without hand warmers.

I painted outside on a fine April day. The location was conveniently located for me and my PALS. It is right off the freeway, and has the necessary amenities-it is at a highway rest stop! It will be included in a grouping with the paintings my colleagues painted that day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Green" Painting

So much is "green" these days: not just the grass and trees, but consumer goods as well. I still like the original green best, I think.

Here in full summer we are surrounded by green, which can be a challenge to paint. I found these hosta leaves to be interesting and tried my hand at them. I used a sienna toned paper to contrast with the green, and a square format to emphasize the abstract quality of the composition. It turned out so well I am planning to do more like it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Portrait that's not a Face

While viewing photos of a new baby I was stopped by one of little feet. How cute were these!? Irresistible - they had to be painted. I hadn't gotten a baby gift yet for the new parents, and I thought they'd enjoy a painting of their little daughter. I got to work, wrapped it, and gave it to the mother. And yes, mom says, the painting is much enjoyed.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Art as gifts

It has been my pleasure to enrich the lives of a number of people lately - my paintings have been given as gifts for special occasions. The events included birthdays, wedding anniversaries, new baby, and (my favorite - husband points all over this one!) Honey, I thought of you today. Some of the paintings were commissions, others were chosen for the special meaning they have for the recipient. Commissions included loved ones, both human and pets, which are paintings that are treasured by all. Landscape paintings were chosen because they evoke fond memories of places and events whenever the painting is viewed. I expect recipients of these gifts to be happy, but an unexpected benefit is to see how happy the gift giver is for these events. Someone who gives the gift of art knows that the gift will be like no other, and it is truly from and to the heart: from me, the creator, through the giver, to the receiver. Thank you to all whose lives have been enhanced and who have done so for mine, too.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Exhibits

Beautiful landscape paintings celebrate the natural world around us. We are blessed with lakes and trees and PALS gets outside in all seasons to bring you these paintings.

You are invited to join me and my painting PALS (Plein Air Lake Superior) to celebrate art exhibits.
Come visit with us and enjoy the paintings.

We will be at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Sunday June 27, 1:00-4:00. The wildlife refuge is a much under-appreciated treasure nestled amongst the strip malls and hotels of Bloomington. Bring your binoculars and walking shoes! The paintings will be exhibited until August 8.

Aug 9 - Aug 27: ArtReach St Croix, artist reception Aug 20, 6:00-9:00.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Exhibit and an Interview

You just never know what is going to happen when you put paintings in an exhibit. Yearly I have paintings at a local coffee shop. I receive many comments from people who have seen my paintings there, and people are able to purchase a painting to enjoy in their own home. This year something different happened: an interview.

After the paintings had been exhibited for a few days I received an email asking me if I would be interested in being interviewed about being an artist. Of course, I'm always happy to share what I know about art and painting, especially if I get to talk about my passion, pastel painting! I spent an enjoyable hour at the coffee shop with a local college student. Check out the resulting article:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Artists of Minnesota Spring Conference 2010

Putting on a conference is a lot of work for those behind the scenes. How do all 255 paintings get hung? And awards decided? And food served?? And programs selected??? Fellow artists, that's how. In the end, it's all worth it. I had the opportunity to help with the 2010 Conference in Duluth. Conference is a chance to meet new friends, see old friends, and be surrounded by art and artists. Who else can better understand the joys and angst of painting than fellow artists?

There is always something new to learn from the demos and from looking at all the paintings. Here's Scott during his demo. It's such a great inspiration all around. I finished the weekend exhausted but fired up to take my paintings to new heights. Thank you to all the artists!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Art Calendar Magazine

I am pleased to celebrate publication in a national artist's magazine. Maybe next time I'll be on the cover!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Every 10 years the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has an exhibit of art by Minnesotans. I was able to submit a painting this year, and went to see the show last week end. What an interesting event! Literally
thousands of artworks are exhibited in several rooms of the Institute.
It was fun to enjoy all the variety
and to find my own painting.
Which one here do you think is mine?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Moon over an Island

Imagine standing on a frozen lake under the full moon, painting! I had the chance this winter at art camp, and finished this painting. The island is so small it's called "Mouse Island". The moon lit the snow beautifully! And the silence was amazing, with the clear sky, deep snow, and no wind.

The painting is pastel, 8x10.

Winter Paint Out and Camp!

I was excited to go on this "camping" trip. It turned out to be a wonderful experience! Sponsored by the Grand Marais Art Colony and held at beautiful Camp Menogyn on West Bearskin Lake, the weather cooperated beautifully, the surroundings were stunning, and the company of fellow artists in the lodge was inspiring. Meals were provided, so I was able to go out after my post-breakfast tea, and paint until noon, head in when the meal bell rang, then back out until the dinner bell. The weather was lovely enough to go out after dinner one night and paint under the full moon.

Thank you to Jay Steinke for sharing his beautiful photographs of the adventure.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lake Country Pastel Society Spring Juried Show

The show title is "A Touch of Red". No problem for me to put a touch in most of my paintings. In these two, the red is a little subtler in one than the other. The whole show is beautiful, and I was glad to have the opportunity to see it. It is at the Burnsville Performing Art Center through the end of February.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pet Portrait-Cutest Kitten

The woman on the phone told me she had the cutest kitten in the world. Aren't they all too cute?When I went to her house to meet her now-grown cat, in preparation for a painting, I saw what she meant. The photo of the kitten showed a perfect handful of fluff, and beautiful eyes! I also really liked the little paw.

This portrait was completed in conte with pastel accents on a colored paper. The owners of this lovely cat are very happy with their newest piece of feline art.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Midwest Seasons Art Exhibit

Wausau, WI is four hours from where I live, and turns out to be an enjoyable place to visit. I was there for the opening reception of the Midwest Seasons Gallery Gala. I was able to visit galleries, an art museum, parks, attend the gala, and have dinner with a friend. There was a nice attendance at the event, and I was pleased to meet gallery owners, artists, and art enthusiasts.The Center for Visual Arts is in a friendly part of town, and the gallery space was airy and bright. The weather did not cooperate for painting outside (freezing drizzle-my least favorite weather!), but I did see plenty of inspiring scenes in town and on my drive home. Hopefully I'll be back to paint!

My painting "Shadow Dance", pastel, was well received by viewers. The show had quite a variety of media and styles and was enjoyable to view. I am honored to have been able to be a part of this fine event.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quick oil sketch

Oil painting is a different creature than pastel painting. I've been doing pastels for many years, but am new at oils. When I envision a new painting, it's in pastel that I see it. But oils seem so luscious, too! So, I'm playing with my oil paints, doing small and very quick paintings. I have a stack of 6"x8" canvas covered panels. I've toned them with different colored under-paintings. I'm psyching myself up to just paint, not create a masterpiece (yet!). I set a time limit of 20-30 minutes, which means I have time most days to do one, and I hopefully won't get bogged down in details on the painting. The feel of the paint and mixing the colors is of most interest to me right now. I am using painting knives rather than brushes. I am using a subject that I'm familiar with, not altering the composition for this project. So, here is today's result!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Painting Competitions

Entering paintings into competitions and exhibits is a step in developing an art career. I have been entering and accepted for some years now, starting locally and expanding internationally. It is exciting to be accepted and to see your work exhibited with all the other beautiful paintings. And it's even better to win awards! It's always interesting to see which paintings win which awards and what the judge of that show considered worthy. It is not always obvious, but always a learning experience.

The latest competition I've been accepted into is outside of my usual venues: The Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau is sponsoring "Midwest Seasons". One of my favorite paintings will be exhibited there. Please visit if you are able! I plan on being at the reception on January 22, 5-7, then painting in the area on the following day.