Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Feeding the Pool


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This is the "other" creek painting I promised, done on a smoky day, but lets call it "overcast." I went out again recently on a sunny day, but I guess because it's getting later in the year, the sun wasn't peeking into the canyon in the same way. I finally set up to paint a scene in shadow, only to have the sun suddenly blast over the cliff and completely change what I was looking at before I had a chance to get it down. I felt pretty frustrated, and came home after wiping my panel twice. It happens.

Meanwhile, I have been PLAYING with all kinds of ideas for what's next. I am having SO much fun that I don't think I want to stop anytime soon. : ) So if you don't hear from me for a while, just know that I'm enjoying myself. And maybe someday, something will come of it.

Friday, September 25, 2020

End of Summer Trickle

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We've had smoke in our valley off and on for a month or more, mostly from the California fires. Amazing that it can travel this far! But the water in this creek is at such a perfect level, I went back anyway, even though the smoke essentially made it look overcast. It helped that I had made plans to meet a new friend there, which was great motivation! And we had a lovely time. 

The upside of overcast is that the light doesn't change much, so you have longer to ponder, and you don't have to worry about the sun going behind a cliff or something. I did 2 little studies, and they were both too dark (a problem I often have painting outside), so they took some work once I got home. But I'm very happy with them now. I'll show you the other soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

In Line for the Ride


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Here are a few more tomatoes. And you might find this funny, since I just found a great light, but I'm going to take a break from the small still lifes. Maybe a big break. I've been doing them for 14 years and I guess ... the shine is off the apple (haha!). It's become harder and harder for me to come up with compositions I can get excited about. So I'm going to use that creative energy and focus it on exploring. I'll still post people and landscapes and stuff like that sometimes, but otherwise I'm heading off into uncharted territory with only some very vague ideas. It's scary. But it has to be done in order for this creative person (me) to remain happy and sane. Thanks in advance for understanding.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Up to No Good

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I have finally found light nirvana. This is lit with an LED spotlight, 50W (equiv), 5000K. I tried to find a 4000K (a little warmer) and couldn't, but this seems to have a really lovely, balanced temperature IMHO. It's nice and bright (but not too bright) and makes GREAT shadows! Unfortunately I couldn't find just one, so I got six, on Amazon. They fit into a regular light socket, and (bonus) they are pretty and come in a lovely box.

Several of you told me about new, dimmable, color controllable bulbs (thank you!), but I couldn't find anything in a spotlight, which is what I really wanted.

BTW, the jar in the painting contains multi-colored cherry tomatoes. But now they look more like gumballs to me. Ha!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

And I Also Got...

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I've wanted to paint this one for a while (from Florence, Italy), but wasn't sure how I was going to handle the background. As you can see > the wall is kind of weirdly textured, with no context. What I ended up doing was painting on the general color, mixed with a bit of gamsol, and then moving the paint around with a squeegee. Then once that was somewhat dry, I added some darker bits on top and modified the edges next to the girls. I'm really happy with it. I'm definitely going to try that again.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Little Leaf Buddy

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I have quite a few larger paintings taking up space in my studio that I need to move before I can do new ones. This is one of some fall leaves from Oregon that I did using brushes, palette knife, squeegees and a roller. I can't wait to see what leaves fall here in Montana! Bidding for this starts at $1. It's not framed, but it will need one. Shipping is FREE within the US. Here's what it might look like in your house. ^

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Emerald Waters

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When we first got to Montana, I was excited to go out and find creeks to paint. But in the late spring and early summer, as the snow melted, all the creeks (and rivers) I found were overflowing and muddy in color. Next year I will know to wait until late summer, when they are just a trickle, and gorgeous! I painted this at Kootenai Creek last week, my favorite creek so far. What's super funny is that a stranger passing by took a photo of me and posted it on Facebook - a "lady painter" in the creek. Someone else in the area recognized me and sent it to me. Unfortunately I can't find it now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Lunching in the Square


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An old scene from Germany. There was some sort of political thing going on with balloons everywhere. A few were floating in the background, but they didn't read well when I painted them. So I took them out because I figured ... there was plenty going on without them!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Can We Hear Yet?


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All the tour groups in Florence used headsets. The guide talked into a little mike, and everyone in that group could hear it through little earphones, rather than the guide having to shout. There were tour groups EVERYWHERE, so it really helped keep the noise down this way. But it was always a little bit of a hassle at the beginning, making sure everyone's headsets worked. This is what I imagine these folks were trying to figure out. But oh how lovely they look in that light!

Saturday, September 12, 2020



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I have a particular affinity for pears. But I wish they were more shiny. And lasted a little longer. But you can't have everything.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cool and Calm


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Here's another lightbulb that I'm trying. This one is an LED flood, 50W equivalent, 4000K. It's a lot less bright than the last one, and more diffused. Almost too diffused for what I want most of the time. But I'll keep it for when I might want that. It's also a little warmer (because it's 4000 rather than 5000k - the lower the number the warmer the light). My plan is to keep trying bulbs until I find something I'm really happy with.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Navigating Florence


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While I'm waiting for my new lightbulbs to arrive (from Amazon, because I couldn't find what I wanted locally), I pulled up my Italy photos. This was a VERY common sight in Florence - people looking at maps. It reminded me of the days when we used maps regularly, rather than our smartphones. But it was the bags that really caught my attention with this scene. The large white bag next to the little yellow one - scrumptious.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Two Spoons


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Lately it occurred to me that the world of LED lightbulbs must be advancing, and here I am mostly stuck in halogen world. So I've been trying some new ones. This one was a very strong (too strong - 90W equivalent) daylight (5000K), spotlight bulb. It almost obliterated the little white cup - I actually had to pretend it was less bright as I painted. And despite being LED, the bulb got hot, which I don't need. So, even though I did a whole painting with it, I returned the bulb (bulbs, actually, they came in a set). Yes, I'm a terrible person.

Monday, September 07, 2020

Team Colors


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One thing I did during my last break was to peruse Pinterest in the evenings. Over the past few years I've collected ("pinned") quite a few paintings by other people that inspire me. And with Pinterest, whenever you click on something to enlarge it, if you scroll down, you'll see lots of other "similar" things, which is great for finding new work and ideas. Doing this reminded me of why I fell in love with painting in the first place. I think sometimes when I'm painting every day I get lazy and I start "rendering" things. Seeing work on Pinterest reminded me that art is an INTERPRETATION of what you see. Or it can be. So I've been trying to be more mindful of that.

Sunday, September 06, 2020



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Question: do you ever paint something, and at first think it looks terrible? And then days later you look again and think maybe it's pretty good? If so, why the heck? 

I'm trying to remember if it's ever happened the other way around for me.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Daily Ritual


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I found a set of these glass mugs right before we moved to Missoula, and I've been enjoying my tea in them ever since. They seem very fancy to me, so I feel fancy by association. Silly, I know, but true.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Winner by a Spoon


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I'm trying to go simpler with my compositions. I think they make stronger statements. But they're actually HARDER to come up with!!

While I was taking a break from painting, I made some improvements to my new studio. The room(s) I'm using is "supposed" to be a second master bedroom/bathroom. The bathroom has a huge walk-in shower that is really a waste to me, as we have 2 others in the house. So I made it into a horizontal storage area for larger wet paintings on panels, using wood and wire shelving. Below is the view (click to enlarge) walking into the bathroom (top, left), turning right (bottom, left), and then into the "shower," (right). God forbid anyone ever turns on the water in there!

After I built this, I was finally able to unpack the rest of my crap from my old studio. And I found quite a few larger paintings! In fact I filled my entire new rack with them. So I suppose I'll need to start selling those if I want to paint any more.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Going for the Spoon


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Thank you all for purchasing my new books! I spent the whole day today getting orders ready - probably filled 50 orders! I took the picture below near the beginning of the day.

A couple of months ago, when I had my book files ready (created with Lightroom Classic), I called around to the printers here in Missoula, and they were either ornery or way too expensive (or both). So I called the place I used for years, back in Oregon, and they were more than happy to print for me again, AND ship, all for less than it would have cost to have them done locally. They are SO great to work with, and the quality is always top-notch. If you're interested, the name of the company is QSL Print Communications, and they are located in Springfield, OR. I can't recommend them enough.

Saturday, August 29, 2020



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First, news: MY BOOKS ARE IN! I created 3 new books, by subject. You can purchase them here, all together or individually (free shipping for domestic orders!).
Second, you may have noticed that this is my first post in a little while. I have strayed FAR from daily painting - ha! That's because I had to take a break. It happens sometime where I get overwhelmed. Or rather, maybe underwhelmed. Nothing looks good to me anymore, and it feels like I've forgotten how to paint. It's happened enough now that I know the signs. So I remind myself that all creative people go through this, and then I step away. I give myself the space to get really, thoroughly bored. And I always hear the inspiration coming back to me again, like a train from far, far away, slowly, and then fast. And one day I can't WAIT to get back in my studio. : )

Friday, August 21, 2020

Lemons Leaving


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Here's another one I experimented with. This time just with brush and palette knife. I tend to have more leftover paint than normal when I use the palette knife, so when I'm done I use the paint to add to some little abstracts I have going. It makes me happy to use the paint up, and maybe someday they'll turn into something I like well enough to show you. : )