Artist Bio

My artistic journey began 10 years ago at First Friday Art Walk in downtown Phoenix.  It was my first time there.  The amount of artwork and the number of galleries in the downtown area was stunning.  The enthusiasm, of both viewers and artists for this event, inspired me.  Walking along, I remembered a desire from a long time ago to try painting with oil paints “someday”!

Apparently, “someday” had arrived.  I began to experiment with drawings, acrylic paints, brushes, photographs and one very handy website on the Internet, called “Wet Canvas”.

Wet Canvas introduced me to artists and their artwork from all over the world!  They welcomed “newbie” artists and put up tutorials, answered all kinds of questions that usually started with “How do I do …?”  Sooner than I ever dreamed possible, I was painting.

If I have developed a “style” after 10 years, I would call it “Painterly Realism”.  Realism, in that I strive to represent form in perspective and tone.  Painterly, in that it is not the photographic qualities I seek, but the interpretation of what I see.

I revel in painting portraiture, still life and Plein Air (outdoor) painting.  The love of my subjects is what keeps my process fresh for me.

My fondest hope is that, you, my viewer, feel a part of the motivation and passion that brought me to the easel to paint that moment on canvas.

Tempe Town Lake Plein Air

This afternoon I showed up at Tempe Town Lake Park with all my plein air gear and found a gazebo to set up by. The temps have dipped to double digits and there was a stiff breeze blowing through the park. Could not have asked for better weather. A few passer bys observed me painting and stopped to chat briefly. Everyone shared encouraging critiques and seemed pleased to find a painter in their midst. All in all, what a wonderful day I had in the valley of the fun…er… sun!

Tempe Town Lake Plein Air Painting

Here is the finished 8×10 plein air of Tempe Town Lake. I finished up as the sun’s long rays were beginning to lose their luster and the sun was beginning to plummet behind the mountain tops in the west. Thatms agood time to stop fiddling and call it a day. Hope you enjoy the painting. I really enjoyed doing it in comfortable temperatures in the middle of the Valley!

Bowl of Brown Eggs

There’s an old adage that says that a hen with dark feet will lay brown eggs, while a hen with light-colored yellow feet will lay white eggs. In my limited experience, this is true. My white Leghorn had yellow feet and laid white eggs. The rest of my chickens, all different breeds, like Rhode Island Red, Australorp, Barred Rock and a Polish chicken, all had dark-colored feet and laid brown eggs, some with speckles in them.

I had a very special chicken known as a Araucana chicken. Araucanas are sometimes called “the Easter Chicken” for 2 reasons:

  1. They lay a beautiful blue-green egg.
  2. They hide their eggs.

I can tell you something else. They are smart, loyal and can be trained. I named mine Penny for her Copper colored feathers. She looked more like a wild bird than a chicken. She was a little better flyer than the others and could, when asked, fly and perch on my shoulder. She would also give “kisses” — I don’t recommend asking for one, it will be a “peck” and it’s one of those times that “love hurts”. Anyway, Penny was killed by a dog who dug underneath my fence, and I hope Penny will be among my never-forgotten animal family at the Rainbow Bridge!

Back to my eggs that must have come from dark footed birds. Still working on subtle shadows and color shifts. And now that a “Bowl of Brown Eggs” is part of the “Painting Today” series, as an 8×10 oil on canvas-board, I think it is time for an omelet!

Thanks for stopping by! We are “eggs-cited” to see you here!

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Romancing the Statue

Cast Drawings were a very important part of an artist’s training in classical drawing and painting.

A young, aspiring art apprentice might have sat in the courtyard staring at the sculpted art of Michelangelo, slowly out lining, measuring and sketching the form per his master’s orders. Years later, art schools purchased casts made of plaster and used them in preparation for drawing the live form. The old master’s method of cast drawing, today, is not taught as often as it once was. Casts of sculptures are rare and expensive, and the teaching methods have evolved away from cast drawing.

Yet, I have been lucky enough to know two instructors who insist that to pass up the cast is to miss a step in the learning to draw process. The lessons? Shadow, light, line and perspective, basic components of training the eye to see and the hand to draw.

Placing the cast in a Shadow Box lined in black paint or black material and shining a spotlight on the cast illuminates the cast with no outside light influence. The result is an almost scientific experiment in light and shadow as it falls on the cast. Picking out the biggest shapes in shadow and light becomes easier with high contrast and sharp edges to launch the drawing from.

This painting was done from a ceramic figurine I picked up, because it reminded me of some of the plaster casts I have seen. The difference between ceramic and plaster are many, but as far as painting is concerned, we deal with two completely different surfaces. Light is absorbed by the plaster cast, but a ceramic surface reflects light, making some of the shadows less defined and a bit harder to see. Painting this piece was challenging and the folds of the toga attire added to the fun. I could imagine myself in the heart of Rome painting some of the oldest and most famous statues in the world. The bust figurine is less than 4 inches tall, but, isn’t imagination wonderful?

“Romancing the Statue” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board and is part of the Painting Today series.

Who knows? I may try again and bring him to “life” with a bit more color! Thanks for stopping by. I certainly appreciate it!

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James In A Purple Shirt

Scottsdale Artist School has been expanding its art model pool! We have had quite a few “first time” models this Summer, and they all have done super!

It takes a certain temperament to be able to sit (even with regular breaks) for 3 hours in front of a room full of people who periodically frown at you (squinting to see darks and lights) hold pencils up in the air at you (measuring correct distances) stare at you as though you were from outer space (getting a “feel” for painting the subject) and tell you that your head is too far left or right from your last 20 minute sitting, by a “fraction of an inch”!

Our models never disappoint. Cooperative, friendly and willing to please they have all been a pleasure to paint.

James is no exception. He picked out a purple shirt to contrast his red hair! Wow, Jim, you really had me mixing up the colors on my palate! I loved that little curve ball of a detail you pitched at us! Hope to see you again, soon.

I thank everyone who stopped by to view my Artsprings pages. I am very proud that Art Springs Facebook has received 15 likes. 35 more and I’m giving away your choice of the “Painting Today” series if you are chosen in the drawing.

“James In A Purple Shirt” is a 12×16 oil on canvas-board and is a part of the “Painting Today” series.

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Another One Bites the Bosc

Ever since I can remember, I have never cared for citrus fruit. Too sour, for the most part and, of course, my mother worried that I was missing out on necessary nutrition. She discovered that I would eat pears and was over joyed to find one kind of fruit that the kid would actually consume. So much of my early childhood contained a grocery sack with pears in it, just for me!

I still like pears. They don’t contain the same amount of vitamin “C” as citrus and they do contain more natural sugars which makes them more appealing to me and all the rest of the “kids”!

Now, I like them for a different reason. The are fun to paint. I have already done a red pear and Bartlett pear earlier on. So, while I was shopping for groceries the other day, I stumbled upon the Bosc pears!

Judging from the skin and intact stems, they are very fresh. The color was high and the bruising was minimal. In other words, perfect for eating and painting.

So, once again there was a grocery bag with pears in it, just for me!

Hopefully with a little dramatic “staging” they look good enough to eat.

“Another One Bites the Bosc” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board and an ongoing member of the “Painting Today” series.

As always, I thank you for stopping by to see what’s on my shopping list, errr, I mean, easel! See you soon again, I hope!

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Sun Powered

Driving North on Interstate 29, somewhere between South and North Dakota one late Summer day (heading to Minnesota to visit with my Mom), we started seeing huge fields of sunflowers along the way. Like a crowd of floral sun worshipers, no matter what time of day, the sunflowers strained to catch every ray of sunshine on their up turned flower faces. East in the morning and West at night, their ability to face the sun amazed me. It was so dramatic to see a whole field of sunflowers do their sun dance in unison.

If you have a large sturdy vase, sunflowers are sold in floral shops and really dress up a lonely corner of the house, especially toward Fall. I guess I’m getting an early start on thinking about Fall, because in Arizona, fall comes knocking on the Phoenix doors around Halloween!

In the meantime, in honor of all those basking sunflowers along Interstate 29 between South and North Dakota, here is “Sun Powered”, a 9×12 oil on canvas-board. “Sun Powered” is part of the “Painting Today” series.

May all your Summer “Sun Days” be fun days. Thanks for stopping by to visit.

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Arizona, Made in Japan

This tea set comes from a gift shop in Arizona. When I bought it, over 30 years ago, I fell in love with the blending of the traditional Japanese tea set and the hand-painted scene of a roadrunner in the desert. If this is not a prime example of why the United States is considered to be a “melting pot” of traditions, cultures and ethnicity, then I don’t know what is. I’m still curious, as to why a Japanese pottery company would be commissioned to paint a Sonoran Desert scene, but why not?

I remember the Summer, my husband and I rented a campsite at the Grand Canyon National Park. When we woke up the next morning, we were amazed at the different languages we heard coming from various parts of the park. We identified: German, Italian, Japanese, French, Spanish and English. Not only do we have Americans that grew up speaking their parents’ native language, we have tourists coming from all over the world to sight-see and tour our beautiful country. Many of them come to see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon right here in Arizona.

So here’s a mysterious link to this country’s obvious cultural diversity and blending. This particular piece was bought for my mother, over 30 years ago, after I had first moved to Arizona and was awed by the culture and climate. Not only did my mother enjoy the Phoenix cultural mix, she also liked tea, so this seemed an original and eclectic choice for a Christmas gift.

Now, that I have re-inherited this piece, after my mother’s passing, I just had to share my find with the world, in an oil painting!

“Arizona, Made in Japan” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board that is part of the “Painting Today” series.

Don’t forget the dose of antioxidants that are “poured” into a cup of green tea with a mild helping of caffeine. Containers are not important, but a cup of tea is a wonderful addition to a quiet moment.

Hope your day includes a moment like this for yourself.

Thanks for stopping by to see my “cup of tea”!

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Scolded

When you walk outside in the “Valley of the Sun”, you notice many things. In July, you notice the heat. Right away, I might add. But even in the heat, the Valley is alive and well. The birds still sing, the bugs are buzzing, dogs barking and some crazy fitness-freak is still jogging when the outside temperature is 110 degrees in the shade.

So, what does this Minnesota Girl miss in all the cacophony? Squirrels!! The top-of-the-tree comedians jumping, hopping, climbing and running around with acorns in their cheeks, looking for the perfect place to bury their find. And, did I mention the chatter? If you have ever been on the receiving end of this “chatter” (being launched in your direction), it sounds like your Mother catching you sneaking into the house at 2 o’clock in the morning. Not that I would know! (Ahem!) I listened to every word my Mother spoke to me. But, it has that same cadence, I’m told.

So, I did a quick sketch off of a picture that floated by on Facebook, and took it to the easel because I have never been known to pass up saying, “Oh, look! A Squirrel!”

“Scolded” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board. It is part of the “Painting Today” series. Don’t let her put you on a guilt trip, we love the fact that you stopped by, to look.

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