Monday, August 29, 2011

You're Invited!

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001

These images began to take form in my heart the week after September 11, 2001…..they are my prayers for peace. They are also the last art I ever created using my hand dyed fabric in the medium of the Art Quilt. From that point on, I chose to express myself with oil on canvas. I exhibit them here, now, in honor of the

Tenth Anniversary of 9/11.

The Columbine is symbolic of the Dove, and both represent the Holy Spirit, the Giver of the Peace of God, that mysterious Peace Which Passes All Understanding. I called these four fiber pieces,

“Espiritu de la Paloma”, The Spirit of the Dove.

The Hebrew word for “Shalom” appears on each piece. Like so many artists, I was expressing in the only way I knew how, my own personal grief, sorrow and disbelief in the unfolding tragedy.

These pieces have been exhibited in numerous venues throughout New Mexico and the United States, including an invitational venue that began at the University of Pennsylvania and traveled throughout Europe, ending in a castle in Germany.

"Voladores": flying; to fly

Irish essayist Rober Lynd wrote, “In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.”

I remember vividly the first time I saw a Mountain Bluebird, flashing his cerulean feathers as he swooped down over the rooftop on our new home in Edgewood. Barren, brown dirt and not a tree one, I wondered if our new home site held any appeal at all to him. We landscaped, fenced and planted trees and bushes, including golden currents and other fruiting bushes that might provide nourishment to birds. A bluebird house went up, made just so, with the right sized hole to attract mountain bluebirds. A birdbath, to provide water, and open space surrounding the box, in the form of a small lawn, and the setting was complete. All we needed was a pair of nesting bluebirds!

They did not disappoint. In no time at all, a beautiful male bluebird had selected our box, offered it to his mate, who graciously accepted it, and they began the task of raising their family.

Throughout the years we have had the pleasure and privilege of housing many bluebird families, both Westerns and Mountain Bluebirds, whose ranges overlap in this area. As we have watched and learned, our amazement grew at their incredible aerial abilities, dedication to raising their families, acceptance of humans in their territory, and not least of all, their stunning beauty.

To hear and thrill to their pleasant warble of “Chee-do” as they fly overhead, keeping their family together, is to know that the spring time of your life has not yet passed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Gail said she saw a picture of Gracee on the web at the Oakland SPCA site, and just knew she couldn't be sitting there for a month--she just had to get her out! Gail is one of those VSP's (Very Special People) who fosters and adopts unwanted dogs. Especially older dogs, even geriatric dogs, like Gracee. She was 17 when Gail took her home. She suffered from dry eye and systemic yeast. Gail nurtured and loved this little shih tzu for her two remaining years on this earth, and by the time she passed over that Rainbow Bridge earlier this summer at age 19, her skin was great and her eyes were, too. She had lost muscle mass and was very thin, so when Gail asked me to paint her, I plumped her up a bit and gave her eyes back that shine of youth.

When I asked Gail to describe Gracee to me so that I could get to know her a little bit, Gail told me that Gracee was just the sweetest of shih tzus, her little Angel. Feisty, determined. Loved to eat. Never got into a conflict with another dog in the household. Slept peacefully in her bed at bedtime. Gail said it took her awhile to get used to being held. Makes you wonder what her life had been like before. Was she owned her entire life before she came to be with Gail, all seventeen years, by someone who loved and cherished her, and then passed on? I hope so. That Gail was chosen to see her home is no surprise. Like I said, Gail is one of those VSP's who adopts old dogs....remember her, and Gracee, next time you make a donati0n to your local humane association.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Apso Repose

Here's the final painting, finished, signed and photographed.
Just waiting for it to dry so I can spray it with some varnish and have it framed, in time for my upcoming show at Watermelon Gallery in Cedar Crest, NM on Saturday, September 3 from 4-8PM.

Photo Credit: Southwest by Miqui
This painting is available as a giclee print, size 8 x 10 or 16 x 20
or a 5 x 7 greeting card. See them at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Apso Repose in progress

These are photos of the first three steps of a painting I am currently working on (July, 2011). Working title is “Apso Repose”. My idea comes from a desire to convey the ability of dogs to totally relax, let it all go, enjoy the moment, and luxuriate in something forbidden…master’s bed. My broader concept is to convey the dignity and worth of dogs as created beings deserving of respect and love.

When attempting a painting, especially one of animals in which I am dependent on photos, for the most part, my first step is usually to take hundreds of photos.

I glean those down to several potential ideas, and crop, cut and paste, size, and Photoshop them into a more workable format. It is rare to take a photo that ends up being exactly what I’m looking for all in itself, but it does happen.

Next, I grid the photo and a piece of drawing paper the exact size as the painting I intend to do. I draw the idea to near completion using either graphite or charcoal. (First picture, done in charcoal.) After preparing a support, either canvas or board, I transfer the basics of the drawing onto the support. Detail is unimportant, but placement is, especially as regards facial features. Just a general outline is all I need.

Next, I execute an under painting (second picture) in the same values as the drawing. Sometimes I use only one or two pigments, other times I use several colors, but always concentrate only on basic values.

This is a 16 x 20 board which was prepared with several coats of gesso and stained with yellow ochre. The underpainting was done with yellow ochre, burnt sienna and ultramarine blue, and white. These constitute three primaries, and give a range of values from very light to very dark, close to black.

The under painting is done very thinly, with much of the stain still showing through. When it is dry, the actual painting begins.

After the under painting dries, I begin the work of actually executing the painting, usually in several statements over a period of a week or two. The third picture shows the 1st statement of this painting. I added the colors quinacridone red, cadmium yellow and transparent red ochre to the original colors I chose for the under painting for my palette. The colors are mostly "flat", without much modeling, and more saturated, or bright than they will end up being in the final painting.

I'll let this dry and then continue on with another layer of paint, concentrating on the bedding and more detail on the dog. I've put in the dark background, and it may, or may not, get another coat of paint.

Hopefully, the next picture I post will be of the finished painting!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Blessings

The following prayer is thought by noted Biblical Scholars to have been written by Simon Peter, one of Jesus' apostles, sometime during the time following Jesus' ministry on Earth. Regardless of its origins, it is stunningly beautiful and very appropriate for Holy Week and Easter:

Nishmat Kol Chai Prayer: Breath of All Life Prayer: Breath (Nishmat) Comes from Soul (Neshama)

The soul of every living being shall bless Your Name, YHVH our God, the spirit of all flesh shall always glorify and exalt Your remembrance, our King. From this world to the World to Come, You are God, and other than You we have no king, redeemer, or Messiah. He who liberates, rescues and sustains, answers and is merciful in every time of distress and anguish, we have no king, helper or supporter but You!

God of the first and the last, God of all creatures, Master of all Generations, Who is extolled through a multitude of praises, Who guides His world with kindness and His creatures with mercy. YHVH is truth; He neither slumbers nor sleeps. He Who rouses the sleepers and awakens the slumberers. Who raises the dead and heals the sick, causes the blind to see and straightens the bent. Who makes the mute speak and reveals what is hidden. To You alone we give thanks!

Wishing everyone a Blessed Easter!

Monday, March 21, 2011


This big, handsome fellow was a delight to photograph and paint. What a sweetie! It's pretty obvious that he has a huge heart, and it's all devoted to his forever person, Lisa. Zeus had heart surgery when he was just a pup, and Lisa has been there for him every step of the way. From the stories Lisa has told me about Zeus, he's been there for her, too, like a true blue, big-hearted, totally devoted best friend should!
This painting was a gift to Lisa for her birthday, from the other man in her life, Ed.

Oil on linen board, unframed
9 x 12
By commission: $265
Contact me if you'd like a painting of your best friend!

Bluebirds #2 and #3

Just finished these two bluebirds from the same series. They are three different bluebirds, all males, who showed up at the bluebird box late this winter. Ken got several more great shots of both males and females checking out the box. I'm planning on a 16 x 20 and perhaps another, smaller one, with numerous bluebirds.

Just a few days ago, I noticed a pair of Westerns beginning to build a nest in the box. Might be a pair of the bluebirds who came this winter?

These three paintings will be framed in a simple ash set-in frame and will go to a gallery later on this spring. If you're interested, please contact me ASAP.

Bluebirds #1, #2 and #3
Oil on board, framed
Contact me if interested.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bluebird in Sunlight

I have loved bluebirds since we first moved out to the country, and built a bluebird box. Very soon after, a mated pair of Mountain Bluebirds, which are solid blue with no rusty red on their chests, like the Western Bluebirds have, occupied the box, built a nest and layed three beautiful blue eggs. They raised those babies and many others over the seasons, until one tragic day when I found Mr. Bluebird laying, dead, wings spread, on a rail of the fence near the nest box. We buried him in a silk handkerchief under the box, and never saw Mrs. Bluebird again.
On the property where we live now, we have bluebirds nesting every year, and on several occasions we have been present and witness to the first flights of the daring and exhorbitantly brave little baby bluebirds.
During the winter, flocks of Western Bluebirds often visit our property, looking for water and winter food. We try and accomodate them according to their needs. My husband got some incredible shots of a small flock of Westerns taking stock of one of the bluebird boxes recently.
I'm planning a series of paintings based on these photos, which all captured in stop-action photography, the amazing aerial expertise that Bluebirds possess. Here's the first one.
Bluebird No. 1
8" x 10"
Oil on board
Framed $240.00
Unframed $195.00

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ruffled Feathers

This young male Great Horned Owl paid a visit to our hen house last November. He helped himself to an old, weak hen, but not before our rooster challenged him to a dual. It must have been quite the fight, because the rooster kept him cornered in the hen house until we came to tend them the next morning.
Turns out, the owl couldn't fly because he had lost two or three of his long flight feathers. He ended up with Wildlife Rescue and will be boarding with them until he molts and grows in some new feathers. You wouldn't think losing a couple of feathers would be considered a devastating injury, but to a predatory bird dependant on flying to make a living, it's considered a fatal injury. We hope to see him again sometime this year, and equally hope that he's lost his taste for chicken in the box!
11" x 14" oil on board