Spinning Into a World . . .

. . . Like OZ
(recap from April 2021)
The past few months have been a whirlwind of new adventures for me...but not anything like a fun outdoorsy adventure. I"m talking about Online Video adventures.  All because of shitdowns and social distancing, most if not all of us have had to recreate our lives online...and we're either getting pretty good at it or pretty messed up.  Well, I'm feeling a little bit of both. 

A while back, I started teaching pastel painting online, and then I soon found out that online instruction requires a huge mental shift filled with excitement and fear.  Imagine along with me, talking with a group of peers with your eyes closed, sharing how you do what you love to do, say...flying a kite, for example, and then suddenly you are looking into a computer screen trying to explain how to do it.   And then the wind picks up, and then your kite....well. You get my drift.  Needless to say, my mind has been getting quite the workout,  unlike my now flabby body, as it shifts from my vault of information and then transfers that into verbs, computer commands, and clicks, all while laughing at how It all makes sense.  It feels as if I am both running from tornados and running towards them at the same time. And I'm not out of breath!  Are you?

Mostly, what I'm yearning for is the comfort of familiar days.  Who loves a great conversation face to face? Or a good firm handshake or hug. Remember those?  Gosh yes! But you know what?  The return to whatever normal was will be sweeter when we land back on solid ground... hopefully soon.  And oh, how a normal routine will feel ever so sweet.  And the clean-up, no matter how devastating, will be a cathartic rainbow.

Moving along...    

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Life's Not An Act!

 A Show-Stopping . . .

. . . Year  
(recap from Jan 2021)
Well, my friends,  If you were to find one WORD that would define 2020, what would it be?

At the beginning of each new year, I take some time out to write down a list of goals I'd like to attain. Sadly, I had never looked at my 2020 goal list again.  As I am writing this, I just pulled out my list of goals for the first time since I wrote it and I'm surprised at how lofty they were. I almost want to say they were unattainable but were more like a misguided thought.  At this point I realized, I just need to be grateful I have one life to live.  If you could rerun what went right, what might that be?  I would imagine it must have been pretty much an individual activity?  Like throwing a temper tantrum or running in circles?  HA!  How about learning how to ZOOM or facetime?  For the most part, accumulated show cancellations were what slowed me down. Waaa a a  a  y  down.

On a brighter note, last year provided me a lot of time to think, learn, and reassess just what is important. I am so grateful for my husband and all my children...including a new kitten.  I had time to really focus on my personal health, yet exercise evaded me. Motivation slipped a bit, but so did the days of my life.  So, what day is it anyway?  We all endured 2020 together, and I am happy to turn over in bed and wake up.  So what one word would you call 2020?  For me, it was "Suspend"  Life is not a soap opera, nor does it offer a "re-run" or a "fast-forward" button. So let's take it easy on ourselves.  One. Day. At. A. Time.

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Finding my GrOOOOOOve. . .

. . . with one little mark

This post is from my monthly Studio Updates, dating November 2020.  Take note that the timing of this post my not be relevant.


At this very moment of writing, America has resolved the election and potentially developed a strong Covid cure. It sure has been a tough road. Together we all have been on them at different times of our lives, with steep hills to conquer and bruising bumps to get over. Our 2020 stories will take the route into the history books and cement them into our current generation. I wonder how stories we all have in common from 2020? Sad, yet somehow I am feeling a little glimmer of hope. 

On a brighter note, so much is bubbling up in my studio! There are several half-finished paintings that I'm re-addressing, online courses are starting to take shape, a BIG, long-term project is being imagined, and just some good vibes all over. I"m happy to say that my slump is nearly over and I'm starting to find my groove! It all came to a head while I was working on a painting last week, when one little, and very joyful brushstroke "giggled" at me! Yes, I wrote giggled. You see, the act of painting is a dialogue...and sometimes it speaks to the artist in most mysterious ways, but this time it giggled! And the best part? I was ready to receive it! What a joyful and intimate moment. I sure hope that joyful mark comes back to greet me again and again. As for the photo above? Yup, that's me...high up on the top of the beautiful St. John's Bridge in Portland, OR., during a graffiti abatement closure. A while back when life was "easy", a few of us artists, Don Bishop, Quin Sweetman, and Za Vue had the idea to paint a nocturne of the Willamette River upon the closed bridge. And what should one do when in a most opportunistic place? Well... Cartwheels! ... and take a rest in the middle of the high road!

So how do you find your grOOOOve? Do Share!

Moooving along...

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A Holding Pattern and the Struggle to Land

 A Holding Pattern and the Struggle to Land


Now more than ever do you find yourself asking "How am I doing?" How many times have you said, "It's been a really weird year"?  It seems trivial to say the big challenges are about readjusting our daily lives. Over the past eight months, we've had to reconfigure how to shop and keep 6' apart, attend school, see the doctor, enjoy a dinner out....and just breathe!  So, just last week as I was painting on a most difficult piece and pondering my personal challenges, I decided that the phrase "Life imitates art" is relevant more than ever.  Are my struggles at the easel in effect, in sync with the world around us? Why yes they are.

Let me explain. On my easel sits a piece that is whooping my butt!  I would work for 4 hours on a particular area of the piece, resolving all the problems of the world upon my easel. Then.... the following day I'd return to my studio and scrape it all off!  After four embattled weeks of daily repeated efforts, I finally realized, and am embarrassed to share, that I was in a hovering pattern. I could compare it to the delicate Forrest Gump feather that indecisively floats along with the breeze. Perhaps the smoke-filled skies from the devastating fires, protests, hurricanes, and Covid are affecting my work in various ways?  Hmmm...

I will let you in on my little secret.  It is not unusual for me to experience environmental battles in my work, but never one so extended. Heartbreaking.  So, I was wondering if you sense holding patterns in your life too? How do you process a difficult struggle?  Well, for me my art acts as a grounding, therapeutic source.  Perhaps the phrase "Life imitates art" could be switched around for one instance to read "Art imitates life"?

Moving along...    

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Chosen Faculty for Plein Air LIVE!

Sharing a bit of shameless self promotion.

I've been asked to be on staff for the Beginner's Day, April 14th at the 2021 Plein Air Live event.
Join me and others as I share tips, tricks, and advised experience on painting outdoors. Pastels have their own qualities that make plein air a very rewarding experience...but there are some pitfalls and challenges too. My focus will be on plein air with pastels along with other Professional artists teaching Oil, Watercolor, and Acrylic for the Plein Air Live "Beginners Day".
Boot up your computer, laptop, or smartphone, grab a note pad, and your sense of humor to learn and laugh along with me and other professional artists as I demonstrate my method with pastels en plein air. This "Beginners Day" is available through registering for the Plein Air Live event.
Learn more at Plein Air Live April 14-17th HERE!


An Artist's Voice Is Not Heard

 An Artist's Voice Is Not Heard

Grandpa's Barn, Creswell, OR.  Demolished c..2010

I'm hoping all is well with you and are getting through your summer unaffected by all the bad news out there. It's been so difficult to find positive in our world, and as an artist, I feel a deep responsibility to bring some beauty into your life.  You see, it's more of a calling and I must do what I am destined to do.  So hand over the reins for a minute and hear me out, OK? 

So over the past ten months, give or take, I have been feeling something brewing in my artwork that was not apparent to me until last week.  As the paintbrush was burning up the easel, my work began to steer towards barns and rural life.  Simple subjects. Things that I could relate to on a deeper level.  And through discussion and feedback from my collectors and artist peers, there seems to be a common thread that is felt in my most recent work:  

Fond melancholy

and all those feelings have been sensed in paint?

WOAH!  It is more apparent to me just how my deep feelings translate over to the canvas. So it isn't COVID or riots?  Well, I know those feelings of injustice and tragedy are pouring out in oil just the same. But now more than ever I realize the apparent visual communication I have been whipping up is coming out in ways I had never imagined.  It's a SENSE of calm I get when I paint.  My main catalyst?  The sale of my family's 100-year-old farm and a deep regret that I could not take the farm onto my own to cherish, nurture, and allow to blossom.  The change of hands had to happen at some time I suppose,  and so I express my feelings throug
h creating with pigments. 

So please take a minute to visit both my "Landscapes" and "Plein Air" pages on my website.  Please let me know what you feel when you look at my barns. Is it nostalgia? Or perhaps you might sense a resolve in my work? For me, I believe that the artists' voice is not heard, but felt... and I feel hope.

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Keeping It Light . . .


Keeping It Light . . .

. . . in Uncertain Times
I sure hope all is well with you during these uncertain times. I'm doing my best to stay vertical under all the circumstances thrown at me. Sometimes I could compare each day to a dartboard game, and then when I go out painting, the world becomes a beautiful place to just be. So when life's situations get a little out of bounds, ever more than now, I just gotta make a little fun!  We've all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and honestly, I am sort of a fan of this humorous drug. I love how my heart and body feel after a great laugh, giggle, or simply a smile. If I could find ways to make someone smile, game on!  I have often been caught finding humor during inappropriate times, smuggling my laugh into my bent elbow to keep from exploding at some personally embarrassing situation. 

So welcome to my world!  While out painting on site, I can be found wearing a hat to protect my face from the glaring sunshine. One of my favorite head coverings is my painting visor, above. It packs up nicely into a roll, it is lightweight, and it's designed to allow some extra shade simply by pulling my hair over the brim. I have often been told that I look like the "FRAGILE' leg lampshade" from the movie A Christmas Story, or perhaps I remind others of the character "Cousin IT" from the 60's era Adams Family Tv show. Regardless of the similarities, it serves me and my humor well.  and I kinda like my "do" being out of my way and off of my neck on hot days...
So go ahead and laugh! You'll feel better ... and in these uncertain times, it's free!

Moving along...    

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