Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Drawing on Walls

Commission- A boy named Drew
Conte crayon 20 x 13

When I first fell in love with art, my mediums were crayons and pencils. Like many young artists, too young to know the difference between paper and walls, I decorated my parent’s home with my little masterpieces. Even then drawing was an obsession. When I was scolded for drawing on the walls, I switched to the walls behind the drapes, or behind the coats in the closet. Lying on my back, I even decorated the underside of the coffee table. Many of my creations weren’t discovered for decades! Fortunately my parents were both artists and understood the need to create, so I was supplied with piles of paper, crayons and pencils. When I took it upon myself to help my daddy finish an ink drawing that he had been working on for weeks and I ruined it, of course, he decided it was time for my own art table. It was placed right beside his. Now, many years later, I still crave to draw, but not so much on walls anymore.

Drawing is the backbone of painting, the foundational structure of the composition. Draw well and the painting goes well. Each stoke of paint is placed correctly because of the artist’s skill in drawing. If the artist draws poorly, the brush strokes will be shaped poorly. Instead of drawing lines, with a single brush stroke we are drawing with shapes. Those correctly created shapes become mass. This applies equally to abstract as well as realism.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lessons Learned

Monday was my birthday. Funny how they keep showing up, but seems like the years are getting shorter at the same time. Another year zoomed by and another year up ahead, full of possibilities. It is up to me to use these years wisely. Not only do I want to grow as an artist, I want to grow as a person, giving more of myself to others, taking time to think carefully about my decisions and most of all loving all those in my life. Our treasures are not in “things,” but in depth. Depth of love, depth of relationships, to my husband, my family and friends, my little critters, my paintings and most of all my God.

I am so grateful for the years that I have been given on this earth and look forward to many, many wonderful memory building years ahead. Sure, I have had some bumpy roads throughout my life. Haven’t we all? But those ruts and detours have made me strong. Taught me to lean into God and given me a song in my heart. Pain can come in many ways: physically, emotionally, and mentally. All of it is devastating, but it also comes with lessons in love, patience, wisdom and faith.

At the Window of Life


Question: Do we get… so we can give? I think so, down through the years, my experience with the not so wonderful sides of life have helped me pass on lessons to others, much more so than those wonderful times of peace and joy in my life. It is those darkest times that I learned to reach out, learned to find my own strength and strength from God. Often times the strength came by simplifying my life down to the most important aspects of living.

Shining Through

Oil 30 x 24

Risky Business


Whoa, heavy thoughts for this glorious morning. One more thought and this is the best one: I can’t wait to see how this year will unfold. What will I be writing about a year from now and what new paintings will I have painted. My challenge… Sure, life is risky, take a chance. Dare to climb to new heights! What lies ahead is always very exciting…. Stay tuned!

Me at three

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spinning Peace Symbols

I love Montana. For 18 years, I have painted her beauty on large and small paintings in the studio and on location. She is a land of varied landscapes in every direction. None of her cities are so large that you can’t easily and quickly see nature spread out before you. Her resources are wild, untapped and plentiful.

The invitation to paint for the “ Montana Landscapes - The Eye of the Beholder Show” at the Holter Museum, in Helena, Montana, gave me the opportunity to paint a landscape that I have had in my heart for several years. I chose to paint the beautiful and powerful wind of Montana represented by the giant windmills along highway 191. Standing there, being among the young modern giants that gather the wind, was a thrill beyond measure. I was enthralled by the choreography of those turning blades as their graceful arms gathered the wind and turned easily. It became a wind ballet.

Is this not the ultimate form of peaceful resource? Reflecting upon the horrible oil disaster destroying the environment and wildlife in the Gulf, the lives lost over the oil wars in the Middle East, and our beloved earth choking under the fumes of our homes, cars, and machinery, I realized that our wind is truly the one way to bring more peace in the world. Each state, each country owns it’s own wind. You can’t go to war to control another country’s wind power. It won’t “run out”. It is eternally available to all countries.

My hope is that this painting will enlighten the eyes and the heart of each person that gazes upon it. That gentle breeze is peace. The roaring blast of air is prosperity. Even the arms capturing the wind are shaped like the international “Peace Symbol” made so popular in the 60’s.

The Wind Ballet
22 x 28 at the Holter Museum

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Painting Plein Air

I have a confession. When I paint on location…. I am a fair weather plein air painter. This seems to be my pattern in life. Those years that I was a skier, I only liked to ski on the best days. And so it is when it comes to plein air. Now mind you, I have painted in bad weather, wrapped in warm wind and waterproof clothing, looking like the toddler wrapped for winter, and I had a good time. But plein air painting is difficult enough - why add to the problems. I can handle gentle breeze, hot sunshine and frigid temperature but I really excel in perfect conditions. I love to smell the fields and feel the dappled light skipping across the landscape. In these conditions, my brushes fly over my canvas and almost giggle with joy.

Often I am drawn to dwellings set in a landscape of beauty. Barns often catch my eye and beckon me to paint them.

This fading gray blue barn had tall trees on the right and casting long shadows along it’s front. I had to quickly paint those shadows first because they were changing minute by minute. Behind the barn are the Bridgers Mountains, the beautiful gates to our Gallatin Valley here in Bozeman. In front of it were fields scattered with sunny wildflowers. It was a wonderful morning.

Often, I find a subject right at my friends’ homes. This barn is just one of Reny and Bill’s many wonderful old buildings in Pennsylvania. It has it all, including old red boards and stonewalls. What a joy to wake up in the morning, walk outside and start painting right there!

This is my red, white and blue salute. What a great beautiful country we live in! Happy Fourth of July!