Wave Splashes

During the IAPS convention I learned a trick for painting the foamy splashes from a wave. This ‘little trick’ should have come with a disclosure – Do it outside! My wave spashed everywhere. Looks like I need to wipe down the painting area. Oh well, it was fun and worth the extra mess.

If you are interesting in learning more about Waves Splashing, go on and click

Back to the Beach

We only had a few hours to enjoy the beach on Assateague but it is forever in my thoughts. Joe and I walked what seemed like a long ways. On our way back to the truck we turned off the beach and focused more on the bay side. While we walked I was enchanted with the light of the morning sun rising over the sand dunes. There was so much depth as you caught glimpses of the ocean through the paths. Very beautiful.

I painted this same view, ‘The Path’, and thought it would be fun to go bigger and change the coloring. I think the painting, ‘Morning behind the Sand Dunes’, is fun because as I was inspecting my reference picture, the foreground has so many violet shades. It is amazing how many blue and purple colors are in the landscape when you look closely – or simply just pay attention.

East Coast Travels

Maryland is very beautiful. Way too populated for me, but beautiful.

Joe and I crossed a lot of land this last weekend.

Our initial destination was Chincoteague Island… We only stayed one night but it was great! We were intent on waking up early so we could get to Assateague National Seashore. We saw horses, in the distance. As a painter, I was most interested in the marshlands. I love how the grasses punctuate this sand dune.

Here is where you can click to purchase this painting.

Practicing small paintings

It seems that everyone in the painting world says, paint small and paint often. It makes sense. When I was teaching myself how to throw pottery someone said to me throw 500 bowls and keep going. The premise – practice makes you better. I get it. I remember being so obsessed with pottery when I first started that I spent a Sunday wheel throwing pottery from 10am to 10:30 that night. Wow.

Painting small is supposed to be great because you can finish a piece relatively quickly, save money on using less material, and test techniques. I find it frustrating. My hands are big and they seem to get in the way. When I paint small it also seems like the strokes are awkward. Oh well, I still try because it does make sense.


This is a small version of a view of the Shoshone River outside of Cody, Wyoming down the South Fork. My brother and sister in law, own and operate a beautiful ranch on the Shoshone River. They have great lodging accommodations at Double Diamond X Ranch and take great care of their guests. Go to their website and check out all the lodging options they have available.

Today I am working on a larger version of the same painting. It’ll be fun to compare once I finish!

Morning in the Desert

Earlier this summer I attended my first pastel convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a tad overwhelming. Lots of learning opportunities and lots of scenery that was new to me. Previous to that trip I had not been in that part of the country. It sure is different than the Midwest. We drove a lot. We started in Las Vegas, visited the Grand Canyon and then made our way to Albuquerque. Then one day we drove up to Santa Fe and about an hour past to white water raft the Rio Grande. That was fun.

The entire time we were traveling I was often times taking ‘drive by’ photos of the scenery. It was all so beautiful. This painting isn’t from an actual picture. I allowed a few different pictures to inspire me and allowed my creative side a little liberty to play. Click for more information on Morning in the Desert.

Marsh Serenity

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve wanted to but keep feeling some kind of internal struggle since I went to IAPS Convention. Everyone I know came out of it inspired. I left frustrated. I don’t need to get into the reasons because quite frankly it’s not productive.

What I did learn is I need to paint more. As much as possible. It’s not about creating a masterpiece but learning and understanding my paper and pastels and how they go together in different combinations. Learning more about aerial perspective and how values contribute. I’m also very much into trying to understand the warmth or coolness of a color. I’m not fortunate enough to have a degree in ART. My drawing skills need work.

So many of the great pastel instructors preach to paint small and often. I struggle with that. It has seemed unrewarding until this painting. Yesterday, I sat down and pulled out a really boring picture of a marsh outside of New Orleans from this last spring. I think I did a good job of taking that ugly picture and painting an attractive painting. Click here if you are interested in getting more details on ‘Marsh Serenity’.

Lazy Summer Morning

As I mentioned in my last post the scene of the field, rolling hills, and old barn are so beautiful to me. In my last painting I captured the mist rising in the hills and the old barn but thought it would be fun to make some changes. In my first painting the barn appeared to be more in the distance. In this painting the barn is more of a focal point while still capturing the mist rising and the beautiful sky. I also changed up the coloring. This painting, with dimensions of 24″ x 18″ is my largest pastel painting yet. It was fun for a change. Painting big seemed to be freeing.

Even though I captured this scene while going to work, looking at the painting can definitely put me in the mindset of a Lazy Summer Morning.

Spring Field

I can tell that this reference picture will get used over and over again in my paintings. I drive by this barn on the way to and on the way home from work and for some reason I am completely smitten. It has so many looks. Depending on my direction, the time of day, and weather I can take a ton of pictures and never capture it the same way twice. I love this photo because the late spring/early summer look is refreshing to my eye.

I finished the Spring Field painting and am pleased so now I am going to work on a larger (18″ x 24″) version with some tweaks to the composition and coloring. The big version is on the easel now. My husband has already made some critical remarks such as ‘the barn is too big’. I tried to explain to him that as an artist I want to take the same inspiration and turn into something new. My hope is this larger painting will be from the same reference photo but will capture beautiful features not captured in the initial painting. This is what makes art fun!

Kayaking on Lake Snowden

A few weeks ago my husband and I woke up early to go kayaking. When we got on the water we separated since he wanted to fish and I wanted to row up and down the fingers of the lake. It was a Monday morning so we were a few of the first out there. Exploring the lake was so peaceful and serene, at least in the beginning, which inspired my painting, ‘Morning on Lake Snowden’.

I was able to watch some very interesting birds and hightail it away from some mean ducks that saw me as a threat.

I came across an interesting tree that a beaver had almost cut down.

There was also a monster tree along the bank that must be incredibly old. It’s interesting to see things that you wouldn’t be able to see if you were on land.

And then things went a little crazy. I kept rowing to get to the far side of the lake. I had the wind to my back so unbeknownst to me the wind had really picked up. About an hour or so from the start of our adventure I turned around to head back. By that time the wind was so strong, I was dealing with 9″-12″ waves hitting my kayak. I was rowing hard against the wind. Lets just say, I got the shoulder workout I needed and I was soaked by the time I got back to my husband, peacefully fishing, completely unaware of the wildness of the lake.

Having Fun!

I think ‘Rushing River’ is the fourth version I’ve painted from the same reference photo. The three before this were different color variations of a mountain scene with calmer water in the stream. I think I’m gravitated to using this photo because it’s small and not very good so I’m forced to interpret the scene. In this painting I had the stream bubbling and rushing over rocks. It’s also fun to paint skies with different colors while creating a feeling of depth by layering the clouds.

The last painting of the Mountain Stream reference photo was my first entry into a competitive exhibition. I’m honored the painting was juried in and will hang in the Annual North Carolina Statewide Juried Pastel Exhibition from May 3rd to June 2nd, 2017.