Monday, March 27, 2017


Beginning is easy.
I've seldom had the fear of putting a starting mark on a piece of paper. Deciding to Start - yes. I sabotage Starting early and often.
let's do laundry, the dishes, even scrub the kitchen floor, instead of starting.
But once the piece of paper is in front of me, and there are drawing materials at hand - well, there is no reason not to put some stuff of that innocent clean sheet.

Some white pastel, a horizon line - here we go!

Because this is an actual landscape I can refer to the photograph shot this past summer. However, I don't have to put in every cloud, nor stick to actual colors. Much deciding... And a little bit of play.

After more pastels and play and pondering I think the image is almost finished. Luckily, the Lake Pastel Society meeting holds a group critique this month. Yes, I brought a bear, but this painting came along, too. 

After our five small groups went around to the five areas where our paintings were displayed, I sought out our most distinguished member, Fred Somers. Mr. Somers is an internationally-known pastelist and pastel teacher. He was kind enough to give a few suggestions and even a good tip on using paper toweling as a way to add more interest to the clouds. (Take a piece of "bumpy" toweling, place it over an area, and push straight down with thumb or finger - no blending.) I have not taken Fred's advice yet, but will probably do so soon, as this piece must be framed within the week.

As one can see when comparing photo to pastel painting much is the same, but much is different. Is that the art part? I did not photograph a number of the changes made in the creation of this piece. The trees at horizon line are partially sunset-glowed out. The wave lines created by the pontoon boat were calmed. Colors in sky and water were added and/or subtracted. Options. Choices. Decisions.

Now it's time to take some of Mr. Somer's advice. I look forward to trying the paper towel tapping. And framing whatever results.

And almost all of my pastels are framed in simple black frames. I'm glad that's one decision that's easy to make.

Now, back to four bear paintings. Acrylic on canvas. For shows that are coming up way too quickly. And time to decide what to make for breakfast.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Few Little Things From a Big Week

Bits and Pieces from a week in Southern California:

We miss the sun now.
And even palm trees and the cactus.
And knowing that we can't go to Paris Baguette for pastry treats.

Todd drove through Beverly Hills and Bel Air. We saw the outsides of fancy stores. We don't even shop retail in regular places - LOL. Lots of their roads are as lumpy and bumpy as those in the metro area of Minnesota. It was trash pick-up day in Bel Air. Trash containers look about the same as here. However, shrubberies WERE impressive. Green and very well groomed.

Thanks to a friend, I  got to scritch a lovely young Arabian gelding (with a peachy keen pedigree) at the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center. And visit the Kellogg Arabian Horse Library with other friends (poor hubby Todd had to put up with our horse-book-illustrators chatter). And touch some original art and see personal photo albums of Gladys Brown Edwards. It was fun to see that she took WONDERFUL photos of Arabian horses and not-so-wonderful photos, and mounted them side by side.  This made her just a bit more real to me - not only the FAMOUS ARTIST, but a person who could "cut" the head off a horse in a photo just as we mortal photographers might. And not care - the "bad" pictures hold equal space in her albums as the "perfect" pictures do. 

The week held other visits with West Coast friends, becoming pals with daughter, Tara's cat, as with as roommate's oft ignored feline. We learned of the powers of sparkly balls on a stick. And got suckered in to being the handlers of said stick. No, we are not getting a cat. But they were fine company in an apartment without a television.

Now it's time to pay more attention to the  PBS TV story on the Bronte sisters, so my sorry writing will make way for learning more about their great stuff. And odd lives.

Another day I'll type more of L.A.


Monday, March 20, 2017


Happy first Day of Spring!

This is being typed in a town a bit north of Los Angeles. Because of much rain the mountains are much green. Blossoms are poking out of many places - even out of trees that appear to have no leaves.

We have seen vegetation that is mysterious to us Northern Upper Midwest types.

Pokey things. Bark-y things. Things with things hanging from them. Things with things climbing up them. Things that look alive and dead at the same time. Huge wide things and hairy thin things. All plants.

It's been Spring here for a while.

We will go come to, well, we don't know what. People have been making maple syrup for a while. What MEANS Spring. People have started seeds. I have not yet - so am a bit jealous of those with access to their greenhouses. I might covet a small greenhouse.

Sunshine has been kind to us for most of the days here. The next two could be cloudy. We have walked and seen and talked and eaten. And kept walking and seeing. Little time taken to journal or note. The mixed emotions of travel. I want to do the things - but I also want to note the doing. Other wise I often forget.

Like so many first days of Spring.

Onto the mysteries of the day - 
And a day-old doughnut - 


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Adventures

Heading West New Adventures

Much needed
Hoping for sunshine and heat
And Fun
And Family
And Friends

Safe Travels
There and Back

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Field Trip!

This morning will be spent at the lovely Como Park Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota. Current outside temperature here is 24 degrees. Heading for 34!!!

So it will be delightful to enter the warm green rooms of the Conservatory!

Usually we find a bench inside, and just sit for a while - breathing in the warm, humid air. Air in the the Upper Midwest wintertime is quite the opposite of humid. We simmer water on the stove, buy humidifiers. Otherwise we often shock ourselves or each other with static electricity. Really.

Today will be spend with green growing plants. Some tiny and hiding under others. Others towering high overhead. There will be a few birds doing what birds do, and perhaps, if we are lucky, a sloth in a tree doing...... not much. doing sloth things.

Indoors the air will be calm. Outdoors high winds are doing what high winds do. We have not lost treasured trees, but friends and relatives have.  We have a fenced backyard, so later we will be gathering things that started at one end of our yard but are now at the other end.

After the Fun, and maybe lunch?,  will come the rest of the day. Too many Priority One options. I still have problems choosing the top three to work on - commission long-ordered?, tax stuff?, definitely applying to more art festivals. Trying to learn how to Relax while doing the work.


Because I am shallow I am HAPPY that the birds and squirrels once again have more than enough sunflower seeds and suet.

So, off to Green Land and friends! Art supplies? Check. Enough money - just in case? Check. Senses of Humor and Wonder? Check.


Hugs to all who need them!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Just notes to ME, but you can read along if you'd like.

This year I made a deal with myself: Blog at least two hundred times or pay $XXX to  somebody or donate to cause.

I keep not remembering to type.
Should I blog in the morning? I don't know. Nothing has happened yet.
Should I blog in the evening? Well, what should get chosen from the full day, and do I blither, or do a sloppy copy in long-hand on legal pad and make it "good" first?

Somehow typing any time gets lost in the mix.

Lost between eye exam, dental exam, buying seeds, bookkeeping, buying more sunflower seeds, walking,  making more Hearts, filling out art fair applications. Starting more art. You  know, those "normal" days we all have.

And I have been Reading! A whole book! An oddie but a goodie - Penn Jillette's "PRESTO! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales." Jillette tells the tale of how, because he likes doing hard stuff, he decided to lose many pounds in a very unconventional manner in a relatively short time. And so many other tales. Penn being Penn types many profanities along the way - many, but this just flavors the fascinating read, really.

The next - heavier - tome awaiting return to the Stillwater library is "Turner, " by Franny Moyle. Looking forward to immersing brain into his amazing life and doings. These two books - attempts at weight loss (achievement!), humor, and art - story of my life? Though theirs are writ far more large.
Minor current doing: Attempting a land/water/sky scape.

This pastel (12' x 24") in progress is inspired by a photograph taken last summer up north on a particular lake. I am working on the weird black paper Todd found at a garage sale several years ago. We do not now its maker - only that it is TOUGH, large, and must be cut with a scissors. The surface is treated with a clear gesso mixed with dark acrylic paints - usually a very dark blue, red, black mix.The resulting tooth is great for pastels. I am glad that we have lots of this paper.... And paint and gesso.

Reference photo printed (note to me: clean printer head) -  one begins where one begins. Because I seldom use a reference for my work, this almost feels "easy" and a little like cheating. LOL. Weird. And, as with working jigsaw puzzles one has to decide WHERE to start. Go for the "boring" parts first - or the exciting ones? "Light" won this round. I much prefer looking at skies than at water (sorry, water). so in went the soft whites and very pale yellows and blues.
No, I do not know all the names of all the pastels used. Some are from the 1950's - not many, and lots are by excellent current manufacturers. My Motto: Use what works for the project at hand.
No, my pastels are not well-organized. I don't even know where some of them are! Yesterday I came upon a small plastic hobby case filled with organized colors sitting up on a shelf of ceramic animals. These things happen here. Go with the flow. Bak to work.

Here image is after one more hour of work:

No, the colors/shapes are not exactly where they are in the photo. 
I am creating a painting - not copying a photograph.
That is another decision I has to make.
Over and over and over.
There are colors in painting that are not in photo.
Printed photo is not a "good" copy of actual digital image.
So it goes.
One starts, thinks, re-starts, thinks.
Should I but in the whole tree line? 
What if a little light violet gets sneaked into sky and water?
What will make this image "pop" even more?
Much more work ahead.

This is where life stands this early March. Oh, and a long-awaited double portrait of real people - people I knew and know - is in its very beginnings. Graphite on good printing paper. Loving father and and adoring daughter. I hope my skills are up to the task.


Now it is time for breakfast and then sneaking off to first of day's showing of "Logan" on "$5.00 Tuesday."

Work will be waiting when we get home.

And maybe time for another blog post.

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Saturday, March 4, 2017


I woke



Thursday, March 2, 2017

New Month - New Challenges

Greetings on this March 2nd evening - on the day I found out the deadlines for three art fairs I usually do were March 1st. Yup - that kind of day. Luckily, at least two art fair managers are being kind and letting me apply "late." But am still unsure of the third. 
It is my "fault." Early in the year I usually make a nicely organized chart as to show dates, deadlines, etc, etc. Not this year. Illness, not-caring, laziness, being busy with other things... mucked up Reality. Today Reality knocked me on my head. Reality will do that from time to time.


It's a good thing Reality can also be Fun.

Recently I started goofing off with some some goodies: large card stock tags

I am not usually a fan of these sorts of things. However, a goodly-sized box of them was too cheap to not buy at a sale sometime last year. Some of you understand....

NOW I am a Fan!!

For no good reason except that they were there, I grabbed five or six, a handful of markers, and started playing. NO RULES. WHATEVER HAPPENED. This happened:

If some text is a bit shaky it is because it was drawn while I was also walking laps through the house. Exercise and a sort of Art. Win - Win.

As I touched each tag I let it tell me what it wanted on it - or what reminding it knew I needed. I need SO much reminding....

Here are the other sides - finished and not:

They are attached together by means of a simple round metal clasp, and can be easily rearranged.

I no longer disrespect the humble tag. And am looking forward to discovering what new/old advice the next batch will hold. If you need a new Challenge maybe give a few tags a try!


Another Personal Challenge is two-fold: this month I am challenging myself to be both more Generous and Brave. I am setting the bar quite low for starters. Phone calls and flicking acrylic paint in new ways (for me) counted toward the "Brave." I told you I set the bar LOW.  "Generous" was donating magazines and books to a local Free Little Library and donating tea bags to the Our Community Kitchen crew.

Now to see what tomorrow brings and/or holds.
I know it holds more art fair applications.
These should beat their deadlines.

It's a challenge.

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