Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Painting A Dog A Day

I came upon an artist who paints dogs on a daily basis.

Kimberly Kelly Santini has been painting dogs each day for the past three years. She says it is like a fine wine that keeps getting better with age. I gather she is talking about her paintings, or maybe the dogs too!

Added bonus, she donates part of the proceeds from her commissioned pet portraits to animal welfare.


Visit her blog.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Interesting New Art Book

Two months after publication,
James Gurney's book is

#1 on Amazon for books about Realism and Neo-Classical Painting and

#2 in books about Painting

Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

Synopsis: This book has been described as the ultimate reference for fans of science fiction and fantasy illustration. Imaginative Realism links traditional techniques with contemporary visualisation.

Award-winning fantasy artist and the creator of Dinotopia, James Gurney systematically examines and details practical methods for creating believable pictures of imaginary subjects.

This is NOT a book about the use of digital tools. Instead the focus is on the use of plein-air studies, models photographed in costume, maquettes, models and tableaus.

He also demonstrates the use of thumbnail sketches, storyboards, charcoal comprehensive drawings, tone paper studies and a variety of approaches and techniques relevant to composition.

The bias is towards Gurney's normal fantasy art subject matter but the principles are applicable to all painters who create works which involve some element of imagined realism.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Only in Washington

Ebony and I were on the Chehalis Western Trail the other morning. It was one of those gray, drizzly, Washington days.

Kali was styling....attired in his yellow slicker staying dry. I noticed his raincoat had a hood. My guess is that dogs probably will not put up with the hood option.

Dave and Kali

We passed a woman who raved about what a beautiful day for a walk. I chucked. She must be a native for who else would call a drizzly, gray day beautiful? My beautiful day is no rain and a bonus if the sun shines.

Not only is the Chehalis Western Trail a lovely place to walk your dog, but also provides entertainment for those of us who enjoy meeting other unique travelers and their pets.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Art Gallery in Olympia

The other day I stumbled upon a unique, new gallery in downtown Olympia, Washington.

Matter features artworks that incorporate recycled, reclaimed, and responsibly harvested materials. The gallery opened in September and features art from about 70 artists.

You will find artwork created with unusual materials that are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Definitely a unique gallery! A must stop in Olympia.

Matter...where art and sustainability hang located on 5th Avenue near Capitol Way.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Get Playful With Color

Hans Hofmann developed a technique he called “push and pull,” which proved that the illusion of space, depth, and even movement on a canvas could be created abstractly using color and shape, rather than representational forms.

Through his own vibrant paintings and pioneer teaching, Hans Hofmann has inspired many generations. Hofmann was recognized for helping students find their own distinctive ways to practice art. He encouraged students to visit museums and galleries where they would be exposed to new styles of art.

Visit his website and virtually try his "push and pull" color method.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Artistic Christmas E-Cards

If you have not as yet mailed your Christmas cards, there are many FREE Christmas e-cards available.
Some of the best are on museum sites!

Victoria and Albert Museum - Christmas e-cards - these are all sent on 25th December

National Museums Liverpool
All proceeds support National Museums Liverpool. Includes specific microsites for : Vintage Christmas and New Year e-cards and the Stewart Bale collection (black and white photos of Christmas stores from the 40s and 50s)

National Museum of Wales - Christmas e-cards

Tate Museums - Tate Kids e-cards

Geffrye Museum - Christmas e-cards

Interestingly, I could find very little evidence of the development of a slick and simple e-card operation on the websites of the American Art Museums. The Met has nothing and I tried a few others with the same results.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Moss Can Be Beautiful

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, moss is a menace. Because of our climate and evergreen trees, we come upon moss EVERYWHERE!

Most people in the Pacific Northwest find various ways to remove moss from roofs, patios, walkways, grass, decks, the list goes on........ I have been known to climb on the roof and scrape moss off shingles. What a chore!

This morning as I was walking the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, I noticed how beautiful moss can be. It covers the rocks and trees in lovely patterns and the green color is vivid. Not having my camera with me on the walk, I found some images that capture the beauty of moss.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Edmonds Library Art Show

Library Features Artwork
by Joanne Osband & Mary Ann Hall

The Edmonds Arts Commission is pleased to present an exhibit entitled “Art and Healing” featuring work by Joanne Osband & Mary Ann Hall. The exhibit at Edmonds Library runs now through January 31, 2010. Library hours are Monday-Thursday 10 am to 9 pm, Friday 10 am-6 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm and Sunday 1-5 pm. The Edmonds Library is located at 650 Main St.

The current exhibit explores the use of art in healing. Joanne Osband, a trained art therapist, has used her skills in the public school setting, in private practice and most recently with the elderly population in nursing homes and as a Hospice Comfort Care Therapist. Art has been her personal expression since early childhood. She has explored many media, finding watercolors her passion of the past 25 years, fascinated by the flow of water and pigment on paper. Osband incorporates torn paper shapes (recycled former paintings) in her work and has recently added water-based oil paint to the collage painting to provide greater depth and deeper color. She begins each painting with the thought, “I wonder what will appear?” She usually begins with quick applications of color and then plays with the negative shapes to bring forth images. Her deep love of nature is evident in many of her pieces.

After 25 years of teaching school, Mary Ann Hall decided to learn to paint. When she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, she studied Lucia Capachion’s method of writing and painting with the non-dominant hand and gained strength through being in touch with her inner child. Hall’s artwork is spontaneous and playful with bright colors and ornamentation. She has shared her painting knowledge and her journaling with friends. Through this remarkable process Hall continues to heal and gain courage. Her inner child’s voice constantly reassures her that there is hope, valuable lessons to be learned, and enough love and support to carry her through the death of her body. She hopes others will gain insight and inspiration from her work.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jim Rohn's Holiday Thoughts

I am saddened to hear of Jim Rohn's recent death, He has gratefully influenced my life and I can hear his voice imparting his philosophies on life.

Jim Rohn believed that our holiday times should be wonderful and filled with lasting and enjoyable moments and memories. He asks, "How can we ensure that we come out of the holidays in January with great memories of the past month?"

Jim suggests six thoughts that will help you experience the holidays the way they were intended to be experienced:

Be Temperate
Holidays can be days of excess for many—too much food, too many cookies and treats. Too much chocolate, schedules that are too busy. One thing that will help you enjoy the holidays is to be temperate. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the treats. Enjoy the busy schedule of activities and parties. But also be disciplined enough to know when to hold back, when to say, “No.” When we go overboard we regret it and lose the opportunity to fully experience that moment. But when we enjoy a little and refrain from going too far, then we can enjoy all that little piece of time has to offer.

Lower Your Expectations
Much of the frustration people experience from the holidays is from setting their expectations too high. They expect too much from friends or family, and when they don’t get what they want, they get frustrated. They expect presents to be perfect and when they aren’t, they get frustrated or disappointed. Instead of having huge expectations this holiday season, just take it as it comes and enjoy what you can. And this brings me to my next point.

Enjoy What You Can and Ignore the Rest
This holiday season, go with an attitude of knowing that things will be what they will be. You can’t control other people or their actions. If a family member pushes the limits of your patience, ignore that and instead focus on how much you can enjoy the time you have with other family members. If things don’t go perfectly—which they won’t—then enjoy what you can and let the rest slide. You will feel a lot better about life if you can take all things a little easier.

Stay Out of Debt
Debt is a killer. It will steal your enjoyment of life. Be sure to stay within your financial boundaries this holiday season. The last thing you want is to start the New Year with a deeper burden financially. Know where you are financially and stay within those limits. You don’t have to impress anyone, just buy gifts that you can afford and express your feelings in the giving of the gift.

Take Time for Yourself
Be sure that, no matter how busy you get, you take time for yourself. Take time to read. Take a long bath if that relaxes you. Take a walk. Spend some time of quiet in front of a fire. Don’t rush through the holidays and sap all of your energy. Your mind and body need to be reenergized, so be sure to take time to do so.

Focus on Your Spiritual Life
Ultimately, no matter what tradition you come from, the holidays are historically days in which we focus on the spiritual. Men and women are created with a natural draw toward spiritual life. However, our culture today tends to stay away from a focus on the spiritual, and that has even crept into our holidays. Be sure to place an emphasis on building your spiritual life and growing in that area. This will help keep you grounded and able to deal with anything that may come your way.

As Jim would say, this time of year is another chance to remember the important truths of life and to enjoy time with dear friends and family. May you experience the very best this holiday season and move into January better than ever!

Jim Rohn and Joanne Osband
January 2002

Jim Rohn was an EXTRA-ORDINARY man!
I will remember him and his teachings forever.
Thank You, Jim

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kaynor Art Show

Still smiling after the second weekend of the Kaynor Art Show at the State Capitol Museum Coach House in Olympia, Washington.

Joanne Osband - Fine Arts and Crafts Sale 2009

I must admit it is challenging to do two art shows in two weekends. The interesting fact is that the artists in the show bond as if a family. What fun making those connections.

It was great to see people supporting us artists by the crowds attending the art show and making purchases. THANK YOU!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Young Artist

Do you remember these days?

When you could hardly wait for your turn to paint at the easel?

I can still recall the memories of painting at preschool! I lived in Southern California and we had the luxury of painting outdoors under the pavilion. That was the best part of the day!

Now I have the luxury of painting in my fabulous new studio. Just had a french door installed and await the finishing work. The view of nature outside my door touches my soul as I create.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I started a new watercolor painting and wanted to be totally free with the background.

The solution; use a mask which is actually a liquid wax that you apply to the paper. When you use a mask, the white paper will remain when the wax is removed with an eraser.....provided you thoroughly covered the area you intended to remain white.

I am planning to paint some lavender in the foreground, but I wanted a colorful background. Masking allowed me the freedom to play with the colors as they flowed on the paper. What fun!

This is what it looks like so far:

Here is a close up view. Can you see the lovely variations of color and color flow that watercolors do so well?

Click on either image for a closer look.

What next?

Back to the drawing board.........

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art Trivia

Did you know.......

1. Leonardo da Vinci spent 12 years painting the Mona Lisa's lips.

2. In ancient times, it was believed that certain colours could combat the evil spirits that lingered over nurseries. Because blue was associated with the heavenly spirits, boys were clothed in that colour, boys then being considered the most valuable resource to parents. Although baby girls did not have a colour associated with them, they were mostly clothed in black. It was only in the Middle Ages when pink became associated with baby girls.

3. During his entire life, artist Vincent Van Gogh sold just one painting; Red Vineyard at Arles

4. Mental illness may be profoundly responsible for the creation and enduring popularity of Expressionism. Van Gogh's well-documented mental instability, and Edvard Munch's traumatic childhood and enduring neuroses helped to churn out some of the Expressionists' most important works. Munch accepted that his mental illness was part of his genius, "I would not cast off my illness, for there is much in my art that I owe to it."

5.The large canvases Jackson Pollock used for his Abstract Expressionist action paintings were usually laid flat on the floor while he painted. Pollock was a chain smoker and would frequently paint with a cigarette hanging from his lips. This led to the intriguing incorporation of cigarette ashes into the surface of some of his greatest works.

6. Picasso could draw before he could walk, and his first word was the Spanish word for pencil.

7. Left-handed painter, Michelangelo, painted his famous David and Goliath with David holding his sling in his left hand.

8. Another famous left-hander, Leonardo da Vinci, wrote all of his personal notes from right to left, forcing those who read them to use a mirror.

9. Pablo Picasso loved animals. Through his adult life he owned a pet monkey, an owl, a goat, a turtle and packs of dogs and cats. He was known to leave his studio windows open and to paint the pigeons that flew through.

10. Impressionism was given its name from one of Monet's pictures, Impression: Sunrise.

11. People have been painting things for the past 20,000 years, but it wasn't until 1880 that you could purchase ready mixed paints.

12. In all of Dali's paintings you can find a self-portrait. That is, if you look hard you will see at-least a silhouette of Dali himself.

13. Leonardo Da Vinci invented high heels

14. In the late nineteenth century the Impressionist movement was initially not received very well by the establishment. Reviews were at times abusive: La Figaro, 1876, "Five or six lunatics, one of them a woman, have met here to exhibit their works. Someone should tell Mr. Pissarro forcibly that trees are never violet, the sky is never the colour of fresh butter, that nowhere on earth are things to be seen as he paints them." Maybe not, but the popularity of this movement cannot be disputed

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Interesting Art Book

The Artist's Eyes is a celebration of vision, of art and of the relationship between the two. Artists see the world in physical terms as we all do. However, they may be more perceptive than most in interpreting the complexity of how and what they see.

In this fascinating juxtaposition of science and art history, ophthalmologists Michael Marmor and James G. Ravin examine the role of vision and eye disease in art. They focus on the eye, where the process of vision originates and investigate how aspects of vision have inspired - and confounded - many of the world's most famous artists. Why do Georges Seurat's paintings appear to shimmer? How come the eyes in certain portraits seem to follow you around the room? Are the broad brushstrokes in Monet's Water Lilies due to cataracts? Could van Gogh's magnificent yellows be a result of drugs? How does eye disease affect the artistic process? Or does it at all?

The Artist's Eyes considers these questions and more. It is a testament to the triumph of artistic talent over human vulnerability and a tribute to the paintings that define eras, the artists who made them and the eyes through which all of us experience art.

About the Author

Michael F. Marmor is one of today's leading experts in retinal disease and retinal physiology and the author of more than 150 scientific papers. He is Professor and former Chair of Ophthalmology in the Stanford University School of Medicine and has taught "The Eye and Implications of Vision" in the Stanford undergraduate Program in Human Biology. James G. Ravin has studied the effects of illness on artists since he attended the University of Michigan Medical School. His investigations have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and have been featured on TV other national media. Dr. Ravin's special interest is in nineteenth-century European painting.

Sounds fascinating!

Monday, December 7, 2009

World Record Bid for a Monet

Le Bassin aux Nymphéa (1919)
signed and dated `Claude Monet 1919' (lower right)
oil on canvas, 39 1/2 x 79 1/8 in. (100.4 x 201 cm.)

In June of 2008, Le Bassin aux Nymphéa by Claude Monet sold for a world record bid of £40.1 million (that's $79,138,799.84 USD at today's prices before commission etc).

The fact that the auction attracted such a high bid is probably because this is a large Monet - and those rarely come on the market as most are in museums. It's only ever been seen in public once and is part of a particular series of paintings of the waterlilies in the pool at Giverny which are seen as being very associated with the beginning of abstract art. The painting is of the water and the Nymphéa and the reflections in the water of of the sky, clouds and trees above.

The previous highest price paid for a Monet was set in May of 2008 when Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil (1873) was sold for £21.5 million / $41 million in New York.

Claude Monet's Le Pont Du Chemin De Fer A Argenteuil, 1873

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The "White"

There it is....that dreaded blank blank blank white sheet of paper. What now?

When faced with that blank sheet, many people feel blank themselves. What to do? How to get started? How to leap that chasm of stark white blankness and land on the other side with shape, form and color? Every artist since the beginning of time, amateur or professional, has faced the dilemma:
How does ART start?

What is it about the blank white paper that can be so daunting?

Today as I worked with an art therapy client, the tension of filling in the "white" surfaced. It seemed like an overwhelming task and she verbalized her concern that it would take a lot of time.

I wondered, can you give yourself permission to spend the time?

What to create? She began with lines and switched colors. When sharing her art, she discussed the continuous dialogue that was going on in her head about what was appearing, and was it okay. Her inner critic was active! How do you silence the inner critic? Or is it possible to work with it? What do you think?

My favorite quote by Vincent Van Gogh:

"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Lavender Watercolor Painting

Way back in July I attended the Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington. Seems like a long time ago.

It is an event that I highly recommend. The whole town of Sequim celebrates and having done this for several years, the festival committee is extremely organized. This year there were seven lavender farms open to the public and it amazed me how smoothly the bus system ran. At each field you not only found acres of lavender, but also art, music, and everything you could think up to create with lavender from food to crafts.

I am just getting around to creating some lavender watercolor paintings from my photos. Here is the first painting. I like some parts of it, but I am not satisfied with the whole painting. Watch for my next addition.........

Sea of Lavender

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Artist Wish List

So, if you got your wish, which gift would you choose?

Here are some options:

1. An extra dollop of talent

2. Your choice of a workshop with the best artist / tutor

3. Your very own concept (unique, satisfying & marketable)

4. Sponsorship to travel and paint overseas

5. More time in the studio to make art

6. A studio assistant to do all the messy/boring tasks

7. Expert advice/sponsorship by a really good framer

8. Recognition (eg Winning a major art competition)

9. Better tools & confidence for marketing your art

10. An invite to be a gallery artist with a great gallery

11. An invite to teach art in a prestigious location

12. Art Business accounts with a healthy bottom line after tax

Or, how about all of the above?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Best Gift

Yes, it is that time of year for gift giving.

The past couple of years I have gifted my grown children by taking them to Whistler to ski. It is a gift of fun and good memories. But this year with the Olympics being at Whistler, I decided to do buy a special gift.

At the Art in the Garden show in Enumclaw this summer, I met a fabulous artist; Julie Michels. Julie paints animals on rocks. She selects just the right rock for her composition. I fell in love with her penguin mother and child.

When I was at the Fair where Julie sells her art, I could not resist an owl.

Julie will paint from photographs, too. I sent her images of my grown children's pets and she capture their likeness perfectly. I was so excited by her renditions of my son's and girlfriend's dogs and my daughter's cat that I could not resist showing them on Thanksgiving rather than waiting until Christmas!

Looking for a unique, creative present?

Visit Julie at her website

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Art Show
State of the Arts Gallery

More art shows and gatherings here in Olympia.

Sunday, November 29th will be the artist reception for the Holiday Art Show at the State of the Arts Gallery in downtown Olympia which is on 5th and Washington.

The show is well known and attended by many area residents. Now is your chance to meet the local artists. You will be pleased with the array of art and talent.

Two of my watercolor paintings, Lily and Explosion of Colors, will be on display. Here is a preview, but the paintings are a "must see" up close and personal. The internet image does not capture the beauty of the flow of watercolors that you find when you view the original art.


Explosion of Color

I hope to see YOU there!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rocks - My Latest Art Form

Living in Washington, every time the sun comes out, (very rare at this time of year) I must take advantage and continue on my landscaping project.

I love rocks!

I wanted to create a river around my deck in the front yard and decided to use various sizes of river rock. Because the rocks were so large, I could not shovel them into the wheel barrow. Instead, I placed each rock in the wheel barrow, dumped the load, and arranged them. In other words, I handled each rock twice! I call this my Zen rock meditation.

I found it to be another outlet for my creativity; my latest art form.

This is what it looks like:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Woodpecker Sighting

This morning's walk was SPECTACULAR!

Not only was the sun shining after many, many days of rain, but also I was gifted with a very close sighting of a pileated woodpecker. Usually they are high in the trees, but this one was near the ground where I could get a good look at him. I watched for about fifteen minutes. The attempt to photograph him with my camera phone was unsuccessful as the image turned out very small.

Similar to "Where is Waldo?" Can you find the woodpecker?

I checked my bird book when I got home to positively identify the woodpecker. How fitting that the book described the pileated woodpecker as a spectacular, black, crow-sized woodpecker with a red crest!

Pileated Woodpecker

Ebony, my dog, and I were on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington where this sighting took place. It is one of our favorite places to walk.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finished Painting: Mother and Child

A few days ago I posted this watercolor painting in progress. Today, it is finished!

I wanted to capture the tender mood of the moment.

Did I get it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Art Show in Olympia

That time again!

Once again I will participate in the Fine Arts and Crafts Sale at the State Capital Museum Coach House in Olympia, Washington.

This juried art sale occurs on the first two weekends in December; December 5th & 6th and December 12th & 13th. It is well known for high quality art and fine crafts created by South Sound regional artists. People come from Seattle and Portland to attend this show. There will be different artists each weekend.

Show hours are Saturdays 10AM to 5PM and Sundays 10AM to 4PM. The State Capital Museum Coach House is located on 211 West 21st Avenue in Olympia.

If you mention this blog, you will receive a 20% discount on your art purchase at my counter. On display will be my latest watercolor paintings as well as the series of paintings I created while on the East Coast. Prints, cards, and ceramic tiles will be on sale, too.

I look forward to seeing YOU!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


On November 21st 2004, the very first global sketching marathon was held.

Yesterday, 21st November it was the 5th anniversary of the very first Sketchcrawl AND
the date of the 25th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.

What is a sketchcrawl?

This is what Founder Enrico Casarosa has to say about it back in February 2006.

The basic idea: to record nonstop everything I could around me with my pencil and watercolors. A drawn journal filled with details ranging from the all the coffee I drank to the different buses I took. After a whole day of drawing and walking around the city the name seemed quite fitting: "SketchCrawl" - a drawing marathon. The crawl was more tiring than I imagined but also more fun and exciting than I had thought. Giving yourself this kind of mandate for a full day changes the way you look around you. It makes you stop and see things just a tad longer, just a bit deeper … needless to say I loved it.

I soon figured out it was much more interesting to do the marathon with a group of artists instead of all by myself! And so SketchCrawl turned communal. After a whole day of drawing it proved to be amazingly interesting and inspiring to share and compare other people's drawings and thoughts. Different takes on our surroundings, different details, different sensibilities.

The next step was making the SketchCrawl a World Wide event: having people from different corners of the world join in a day of sketching and journaling and then, thanks to the Internet, having everyone share the results on an online forum.

So here it is, we have a website now, a few Crawls behind me, some by myself some with friends and artists from around the world … and hopefully plenty SketchCrawls ahead of us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Work in Progress

I have mention before how walking by on a daily basis a watercolor painting in progress helps me to see aspects of my paintings that while in the mist of creation, I might miss. Not only does it give me an opportunity to see what the next step is but also if the painting is complete. Completion can be challenging as sometimes one can "over work" a painting and lose its freshness.

Another helpful way to observe my own paintings is to take a digital image. When I bring it up on the computer it changes perspective and gives me a different feel.

Tonight I decided to photograph a painting in progress, so the lighting and the fact that it is taped to the drafting table are handicaps to viewing. Yet, it helps me to study my painting progress and assess where to go from here.

This is what I am working on:

Jayme and Vienne

It looks like I need to darken the shadow of the hat on the baby's face. Kind of scary to do without loosing the details of the eyes.........

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today's Mandala

As I was working with our two International Trauma Treatment Program practitioners from Liberia and Serbia, I noticed how engaged they were with their art. Usually I do not create art myself during an art therapy session because I would not be attentive to my students. But, today was different!

So much is happening in my life that at times I feel overwhelmed. When I create a mandala, I find myself in a natural meditative state. Images appear and I move with them unraveling insights. It is a dance of mind, body, and the creative spirit. As the story unfolds so does the art.

Today's mandala turned out to be the tree of life. Representing my world at the present time; colorful, vibrant, and growing.

I find it interesting that the mandala was created diagonally............hmmmmmmmm.

Tree of Life

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holiday Art Shows

Two shows of note this holiday season in Olympia, Washington:

The State of the Arts Gallery in downtown Olympia on the corner of 5th and Washington will have an art show of several local artists. Two of my watercolor paintings will be on display. The show will run through the holiday season with a kick off reception on Sunday, November 29th from 12 to 4PM.

The Annual Fine Arts and Crafts Sale will be the first two weekends in December at the State Capital Museum Coach House. This is a juried art show of about 22 artists and well attended by people from the Pacific Northwest. I will be there both weekends; December 5th & 6th and December 12th & 13th. The show runs Saturdays from 10AM to 5PM and Sundays, 10AM to 4PM. A fabulous variety of quality art. I have created a new series of paintings from my trip to New England as well as watercolor paintings, prints, tiles, and cards.

I hope to see you this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monet's Gardens in Giverny

Have you been captivated by Monet's paintings of water lilies as I have? Someday I will visit his gardens in Giverny, France.

There are two parts in Monet's garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The two parts of Monet's garden contrast and complement one another.

The Clos Normand

The land is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of different heights create volume. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, the long -stemmed hollyhocks and the coloured banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties.

The central alley is covered over by iron arches on which climbing roses grow. Other rose trees cover the balustrade along the house. At the end of the summer nasturtiums invade the soil in the central alley.

Claude Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow rather freely.

With the passing years he developed a passion for botany, exchanging plants with his friends Clemenceau and Caillebotte. Always on the look-out for rare varieties, he bought young plants at great expense. "All my money goes into my garden," he said. But also: "I am in raptures."

The Water Garden

The water garden is full of asymmetries and curves. It is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he collected avidly.

In this water garden you will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and above all the famous nympheas which bloom all summer long. The pond and the surrounding vegetation form an enclosure separated from the surrounding countryside.

Never before had a painter so shaped his subjects in nature before painting them. And so he created his works twice. Monet would find his inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years. After the Japanese bridge series, he would devote himself to the giant decorations of the Orangerie.

Always looking for mist and transparencies, Monet would dedicate himself less to flowers than to reflections in water, a kind of inverted world transfigured by the liquid element.

Claude Monet

In Katherine Tyrrell's blog you can watch a slide show from the photos she took on her recent visit to the gardens.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally Finished It!

Back to watercolor painting!

I have been consumed with creating a home environment since purchasing my house this summer; painting, tiles, installing doors and windows, building a deck, and then there is the landscaping.

Needless to say, I have not kept to my daily disciplined of painting with watercolors. It was good to escaped to New England in October for a painting & yoga workshop to get the creative juices flowing again.

This watercolor painting of lupines was begun before moving. In fact, I had to carefully transport it in the moving truck because it was taped down on the drafting table. I thought it was finished a while back (and even posted it here), but as I kept passing by it on the drafting table, something was not right. Thankfully, I now have a studio within my home so that I can view art at any time. This method of occasional viewing art has been my measure for completion and composition.

I believe it is finished and I can move on to new creations.

Lupines Galore

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Makes a Good Art Teacher?

What are the characteristics of a good art teacher?

Most of us have had a teacher who at some point in our lives has a made a very real difference to who we are today.

What are the attributes of a good art teacher? What makes them somebody who can make a real difference in how their students develop and the art they make?

Do you think one or more of the following factors might be important?

active artist; produces good art
very knowledgeable ( art history / specific media)
good at demonstrations / explaining techniques
tightly focused classes (beginners; masterclass etc)
adapts teaching to student's learning style
enthusiastic/passionate about art
strong belief: everybody can make art/draw/paint
promotes originality/creativity (not just copying)
promotes learning and self-evaluation
sets appropriate / challenging goals
encouraging - provides constructive feedback
effective communicator

Most people will have very different experiences of art teaching. What's important is what YOU think makes a good art teacher.

So, what do you think?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cannon Beach Gallery
2009 Miniature Show

The Cannon Beach Gallery's annual All Juried Miniatures Show begins this weekend and runs until the end of November.

The Cannon Beach Gallery, a program of the non-profit Cannon Beach Arts Association, is located at 1064 S. Hemlock Street and open Thursdays through Mondays from 10-4PM.

One of my New England encaustic painting was juried into the show. I used hot wax, craypas, and colored tissure paper and have several in the series.

Here is their selection:

New England Fall Colors #1

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Grand Canyon of the Pacific

Did you know there was another Grand Canyon?

Surprise! On the island of Kauai in Hawaii you can find a Grand Canyon look-a-like. I was amazed at the similarity of the two canyons. The red sand and stone formation look strikingly the same, but the greenness of the vegetation on Kauai is definitely a distinction. The Waimea Canyon is on the dry, western side of the island of Kauai.

The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, aka Waimea Canyon:

Beautiful, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wettest Place on Earth

The mountainous region on the island of Kauai, in Hawaii, receives 460 inches of rain in an average year. In Kauai, the wettest place on earth, it sometimes rains 350days out of the year!

Though Kauai has the highest average rainfall, other places on earth have received more than 460 inches of rain in a year.

Can you see all the waterfalls?

Elaine and I traveled by kayak down the Wailua River and hiked about a mile to see the "Secret Waterfall".

Not really a secret anymore!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


After realizing I could view Van Gogh paintings at the Musée d'Orsay on YouTube, I decided to look for one of my favorite Impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting.

I remember the Museum of Contemporary Art in Basel, France had one of Monet's huge waterlily painting taking up an entire wall. Across the room from it was a over sized, comfy couch for us Monet fans to sit and gaze for a good length of time. I was mesmerized!

I found a lovely video on YouTube featuring some of Monet's paintings called Through The Eyes of Monet.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Van Gogh on YouTube

Have you visited the Musée d'Orsay, in Paris, France?

The museum is dedicated to artwork in the period 1848 to 1914 and is, in part, a temple to Impressionism. Essentially it starts where the Louvre leaves off. The artwork housed in the museum came from three different collections.

There is one room in the museum containing 18 Van Gogh paintings. Katherine Tyrell says, "It's certainly an experience to be in a room with quite so many Van Goghs. You'll note from the video that it's very crowded. However, that's what all the rooms are like on the top floor where the late nineteenth century and Impressionist paintings are displayed. However people always like to linger in the Van Gogh room......."

Like Rembrandt and Goya, Vincent van Gogh often used himself as a model; he produced over forty-three self-portraits, paintings or drawings in ten years.

Monday, October 26, 2009

To Crop or Not To Crop

Cropping is one way to transform an image for emphasis.

When I first began to create watercolor collage paintings, I chose the areas of previous watercolor paintings that I liked. In other words, I cropped a portion of the painting. Having done several paintings of the same subject, I had several paintings and areas to choose from. Then, I recreated a painting using my favorite croppings. Thus, the birth of watercolor collage painting!

Recently, I have cropped the encaustic paintings I created while at a painting & yoga workshop in the Berkshires into miniatures, and entered them in the Miniature Art Show in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Now, I am toying with how to crop another pastel painting done in the Berkshires. I am not happy with painting as a whole, but I do like aspects of the pastel painting which might make smaller individual paintings.
Let me explain.......

Here is the original pastel painting:

The cropping I like with the three trees as the subject.

Then, I am intrigued by the cropping of the light on the hillside....

Are they "keepers"? What are your feelings?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mima Mounds

Today, a friend and I Walk around weird, grass and moss-covered hillocks in southwest Washington.

One of Earth's strangest landscapes can be found in the humble pastures near Littlerock, Washington, 12 miles south of Olympia. The Mima Mounds, at Mima Prairie, look like a sea of giant, half-buried bowling balls 8 feet tall and 30 feet across.

"There's no obvious reason why they should be there," says University of Washington geology professor Bernard Hallet. Indeed, after two centuries of speculation, scientists are still baffled by the mounds' origin and magnitude before agriculture and development encroached, the mounds extended a remarkable 20 square miles.

You can ponder the Mima Mounds' quirky mystery as well as Mima Prairie's unusual ecosystem at a 450-acre preserve set aside by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This native prairie is one of the rarest ecosystems in Washington.

From the kiosk, a network of easy hiking trails wend their way through the mounds. As you explore, consider the two most viable current theories for the mounds' formation: Some geologists believe that violent earthquakes shook the loose prairie soils into neat heaps. Zoologists have also studied this area extensively; some believe that ancient potato-size pocket gophers created the mounds over generations of frenzied territorial construction. Most other theories that these are Native American burial mounds, for example have been refuted.

Perhaps, after a visit, you'll come up with your own theory for these strange mounds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Too Much Fun!

It is know that the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better is by making it fun to do.

Turn the stairs into a Piano, and people will "take the stairs" over the escalator!!!

And notice how happy they are!

Piano stairs -

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Dance to the Piper"

Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American dancer and choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance, whose influence on dance can be compared to the influence Stravinsky had on music, Picasso had on the visual arts, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.

This is a passage from Martha to Agnes B de Mille (18 September 1905 – 7 October 1993), an American dancer and choreographer, sharing her insights on unique individual creativity of an artist.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

"As for you Agnes, you have a peculiar and unusual gift and you have so far used about one third of your talent."

"But when I see my work, I take for granted what other people value in it. I only see it's ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied."

"No artist is pleased"

"But then is there no satisfaction?"

"No satisfaction whatever at any time!" she cried passionately. "There is only a quiet divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

How do you feel about this?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The Cannon Beach Gallery in Oregon, a program of the non-profit Cannon Beach Arts Association, is calling for original art submissions for its annual All Juried Miniatures Show this November.

Two of my fellow artists, Judi Colwell and Ellen Miffit, and I have started a tradition to enter this show. It began as a challenge last year because none of us have done miniature paintings before. For one thing, Miniatures are easy to mail, and, two, what fun it would be to take a field trip together to visit Cannon Beach to pick up our art if they were accepted. Need I say, we had a FABULOUS adventure together to Cannon Beach, and my painting sold!

As I looked at my most recent art from a trip to the East Coast, I realized that I liked certain areas of my paintings better than others. What if I cut up the painting into miniature paintings?

Here are two of my entries for the Miniature Show in Cannon Beach taken from an encaustic painting I did at a painting & yoga workshop in the Berkshires:

New England Fall Colors #1

New England Fall Colors #2

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kripalu View

Kripalu a center for yoga and health is situated in the western Berkshires of Massachusetts. People come from all parts of the country and world and all walks of life to pursue personal growth, cultivate health and wellness, learn practical life skills,explore creative pursuits,delve into spiritual practices,develop professional skills, renew and revitalize.

I went to the Yoga and Painting workshop and experienced Kripalu. Each day I took in the OUTSTANDING view. Most of the time that I painting it was outdoors which is quite different than my usual studio experience.

Here is the view from Kripalu that I created in pastels, a medium I have not used since childhood. It was a moody day which made the Washingtonian feel right at home!