Longer than expected

Posted by on Jun 30, 2008 in Murals | One Comment



Today I finished the job of flowering up S’s dining room. It surprised me to spend another 8 hours on it today. . . don’t know why I was surprised, because there are 26′ of morning glories! There is also the inevitable dinking around at the end that I have learned (the hard way) is Very Important. So often I am operating in the Get-er-dun mode; this means I sign it, pack it up and go! Then, I look at it later and say “Oh. Oooops!” (I confess that sometimes I have been known to say something worse than ooops.)

This time, S was home all afternoon, and we had such a good time hanging around together. She enjoyed watching the final part of the process. I think she was also glad that I was the one up and down the ladder rather than her!

This was a great learning experience, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to create a little more beauty in S’s life. Her home is so very beautiful that I had to adopt a mantra – Thou Shalt Not Covet – and repeat it from time to time.

too many names!!

Posted by on Jun 29, 2008 in General, Thoughts | 4 Comments

This is kind of fun, but I do have to make a decision by Tuesday! Look at these additional suggestions:

Yesterday’s memories
Uncle Bill’s Barn
Home Sweet Home
The Barn Again
Well Seasoned
Here to Stay
Vroom Room (just kidding!!!)

And Built to Last is ahead of Character Counts.

the barn again

Posted by on Jun 28, 2008 in drawing, General | 11 Comments

You all helped me select the graphite portrayal of several barns with a tractor. Thanks! Now I am requesting your input again. Will you help me name it?


Titles definitely matter – think of last year’s First Place winner in the Farm Equipment category. What if it had been called “Tractor Tire” instead of “Size Matters”? (I shudder to think of it)


So here are my top two choices:
1. Character Counts
2. Built to Last

Perhaps you have a better suggestion – I am open to hear it!

This is my job???

Posted by on Jun 26, 2008 in commissions, General, Murals | 3 Comments

This was a good painting day! It brings to mind the saying, “The worst day painting is better than the best day working”, although I think that was originally about fishing, not painting. And come to think of it, my painting is working!! (in both senses of that statement) Such a great life I have been blessed with!

Anyway, here is a new photo of yesterday’s completed left side, (because even my photos were blurry yesterday) and a new photo of today’s completed right side. Oh my, S will be very pleased when she gets home tonight!


Some of the same flowers here: poppies, lupine, Bigelow sneeze-weed, Indian paintbrush, farewell-to-spring, baby blue eyes; and, some new ones: wild iris, fairy lanterns, and a tiger (or is it leopard?) lily.

p.s. I only dropped one paintbrush today!

wildflower saga continues

Posted by on Jun 25, 2008 in commissions, General, Murals | No Comments

Wow, this was hard today! Look at all the hassles:

1. S was out of water
2. I couldn’t figure out how to turn on her ceiling fan (it gets hot up there in the upper reaches of her dining room!). But it was good I couldn’t turn on the fan, because it would have chopped my head off working on the morning glories!
3. I kept climbing up and down the ladders and the scaffolding because I either forgot stuff or dropped it. (There is no place to put things while standing on a ladder or a platform, so it is a bit of a juggling act.) Plus, I have to climb up and down to see how it looks from a normal viewing position.
4. It was weird trying to see with the glare, the brightness of the windows, needing glasses for the reference photos and also not needing glasses to see where to carefully place my feet on the platform. . . phew! I was glad to come home, until I found that our water softening machine had been blowing gallons of water into the yard for an hour or two.
5. The 5 kittens snuck in the back door while S’s Dad was trying to solve the water problem, and I had to round them up and throw them out!

At least the painting turned out well today!




More greenery has happened at the bottom, and now it is flowing into a row of morning glories. For the farmers out there that read my blog, I apologize for including such a pernicious weed. However, this one won’t spread outside of these walls, and even you have to admit that it is a fabulous color!

Getting a little easier

Posted by on Jun 23, 2008 in commissions, Murals | 5 Comments

Today I returned to house of S, aka the Divine Dining Room project. There was black plastic blocking the blinding window light, so it was a little easier to see. However, there were a few distractions as i looked out the window below! (Have I mentioned my Cat Disorder?? Never mind, just try to pretend that I am normal.)


This little guy was calling to me through the window, but I cold-heartedly pretended as if I didn’t know what he wanted. It was an act, it hurt a little, but I am trying to overcome this little problem.

Here is how the wildflowers look now:


In case you are wondering, these are California poppies, a variety of lupine, Bigelow Sneeze Weed (the yellow with big brown centers), Indian Paintbrush (the red), Baby Blue Eyes (bet you can figure out which one that is), Farewell To Spring (the pink – a clarkia, but I don’t know which variety), and 2 different kinds of brodaiea (or some such collection of vowels. . .) I hope to return to the job on Wednesday. This is a fun fun job! (never mind about the part where I forgot my brushes and had to drive back home before starting this a.m.)

How Long??

Posted by on Jun 20, 2008 in commissions, General, Thoughts | 5 Comments


One of the most frequently asked questions about my art is “How long did it take you to do that?”

I, who am usually honest to a fault, dance around the answer to that question. There isn’t a straightforward answer, and when there is, I don’t like it!

Here are some of my answers:
1. Why? do you want to calculate my hourly wage?
2. It went really quickly this time.
3. I can’t believe how long this took!
4. Who has time to calculate hours?
5. The side of my brain that makes art isn’t the side of my brain that can tell time.

The plain truth is that I don’t keep track of my time. Most of my work is produced in fits and starts rather than sitting down in the a.m. and getting up at the end of the day to check off the 8 hour box.

When a commission customer asks about how long, I assume (usually correctly) that the question has to do with when the piece will be ready. I ask when he would like it. Then I do my very best to finish it by that time, and I haven’t missed a deadline or promise yet! (except for the time I was in a big fat car wreck, but that’s for another post. . . or maybe not.)


Posted by on Jun 19, 2008 in commissions | 2 Comments

Maggie bought a painting of oranges and asked for a companion piece of lemons. Just so happened that someone had brought me a bag of them, so I was prepared. And, I figured if I was going to paint lemons for Maggie, I should do a series of lemons. Hers is the first in the series. Two thoughts about lemons: 1. they have less dimples than oranges and 2. what a thrill to be able to paint with a different color than orange!


Say what??

Posted by on Jun 18, 2008 in drawing, Lessons, Thoughts | 2 Comments

In drawing lessons, sometimes it is difficult to articulate my thoughts. A picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes a thousand words still can’t explain the picture. Often, I can’t find the right word, so I will make one up. The funny part is that my students understand the meaning!

This morning a woman was working on some boulders but something wasn’t looking believable. The problem was that she had inadvertantly made potatoes and an oversized pinto bean! Once we had that figured out, she asked how to draw some grass behind the boulders. I was trying to keep her from making a lot of little lines all in a perfect row. The instructions came out, “You need to sort of bounce your clumpage along – that’s it, just horizontalize it a bit more”. She got it.


No potatoes allowed in my river!! The title of the piece is “Spring Run-off” and it is one of the few pieces I can’t bear to part with.

stretching out. . .

Posted by on Jun 17, 2008 in Murals | 2 Comments

It is a common thought that one must stretch one’s abilities by trying new experiences. So, here I go again!

Back in January or so, my good friend S (who declined to be identified as “The Divine Miss S) asked me to paint something in her dining room (which is definitely a divine room!) My answer was a definite “Maybe”! At first we considerered ivy, then looked at some acorns and oak leaves. S wasn’t entirely sold on those ideas, and when I thought about her personality, I realized that what she needs is color, lots of color!

So, we decided that wildflowers were the right choice. First, I had to learn how to paint them, so we waited until I practiced on all those poppies and lupine.

Today I started her divine dining room project. Check this out:


Nice room, eh? (the ladders were for my benefit – S doesn’t normally store them in her dining room)


Whoa, I get to paint up there? The surface is a little rough, and the light coming in the windows makes it a little tough to see the colors I am putting on the wall. (stretch, stretch, stretch. . .)


This is how it looked after a couple of hours of dinking around, arranging materials and supports, and finally making the commitment of the first brush stroke. As usual, more will be revealed, so stay tuned.