Thursday, February 27, 2014


I am starting my own website so have transported my blog to the new site.  You can now find me at

Hope to hear from you there!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Learning to Oil Paint through trial and error

It may be time to Google this or read a book.   Mixing paints is pretty much similar whether using watercolors, acrylics or oils, but there the commonalities end. Since oils are slower to dry, I am finding it much easier (in a bad way) to muddy up what is on the canvas.  With acrylics you can walk away for 10 minutes and be good to go, but it is more like 48 hours for oils.  As I said,  I have things to learn here.  

Here is my first attempt...  9 x 12" on wood cradle board.  

Girl in a Red Blouse

Not perfect, but comes a time you just have to quit a piece and move on.  
My next one took me a long time,   several sessions.  Unfortunately I worked too long and I liked him better a few stages back.  This was taken from a photo my daughter took of a Thai boy who captured my heart.  In reality, he is younger than the picture I portrayed.  I am working on how to make children look their young age.  It is HARD!

Today I started a Van Gogh -inspired painting.  Not sure the name of it but it is a still life.  Here is a sneak peek of my work in progress.  Definitely not done  but enjoying the loose style and getting away from faces for a change.  

Book and Vase, Van Gogh-inspired 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I met my Favorite Artist!

About a decade ago while visiting the Street of Dreams in Issaquah, I came upon some paintings in a bedroom of one of the glorious houses.  They were on the walls on on an easel and I was smitten.  After seeing them I found the artist's website and was in love all over again.  In fact,  they inspired me to try to copy her style which really meant I copied one or two of her paintings, one of which I still have hanging in my house.  But the plot thickens....

One day I was visiting my brother and ON HIS LIVING ROOM WALL! was one of HER original paintings.  I recognized it immediately and he told me that they were friends and she had given him the painting!  

Years later he arranged for me to meet her (today!) and visit her studio on Lake Washington in Seattle.  So, after a decade of loving her work, I met the master : Leslie Sandbulte.

There is nothing like visiting another painters workspace to get you inspired to get to work yourself.  She works solely in oils, a medium I have yet to try.  But.... on my way home I stopped at Michaels Art Store and picked up a starter set of oils, some new brushes, a palette knife and a palette.

  I haven't a clue!  I had to look up what you use to thin the oils before you paint.  Not water, for sure!  I have a couple of projects I have to get done first but then I will play.  My hang-up with oils is the clean-up.  My "studio" is upstairs in my house with a guest bathroom as my clean-up zone which is not really a good setup for cleaning with turpentine.  But, I guess I will have to get less lazy and impose upon my garage for this.

I was SO EXCITED I sadly forgot to snap pictures of her studio.  
But I did get  this one which was another gift to my brother!  (

Oooolala, right?  I'd give my fourth born to paint like this.  (in case my 3 kids read my blog I have to be careful)

Here's another that I love that she has for sale at Mandeville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington.  Check her out on her website at
Awesome stuff.   Her house and workspace inspired me more than any art museum.  

Anecdotal afterword:  After my visit I was on the phone with my daughter telling her about my day with Leslie.  She told me that she has been at her home before for a wedding shower for one of her good friends who happens to be the key model that Leslie has used in many of her paintings!  And... she has worked with one of Leslie's sons.  Crazy coincidences in this small, small world.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Online art class with Juliette Crane

I always have at least one going.  I learn so much from watching others paint and from the collaboration that comes with online art classes.  Each class has its own Facebook private group, a photo gallery where students post their work for comments (always positive!)  and discussion forums.  And then there are the weekly lessons.

Juliette is one of many mixed media artists who is published in art magazines and shares her expertise in her workshops and online classes.  I am taking her Serendipity class which just started.  This month she shared painting backgrounds using painted papers torn and collaged, then painted again and embellished with symbols.  Out of the chaos, a figure (character) emerges, supposedly.  It is all so loose and unstructured and was very difficult for me for some reason.  I've done a lot of this, but by the end of my painting, I no longer have any of my background papers visible.  This wouldn't bother me except I see all the lumps and bumps and edges of the collaged papers but without the patterns!  I am hoping that I will learn this skill of incorporating collaged pages without losing them in the subsequent painting sessions.

Just for kicks I'll show you what my collaged page started out like.

 And this is what came of that:

I have a bit to learn about the effects of bleeding art tissue and better use of collaged patterns.
But then, that is why I take these classes.  
Check out Juliette Crane at

A Commission!

Nothing like a commission to make an artist feel like an artist.  This was a fun one because I was able to see the space where it was going to go, talk with the client about color choices and her vision.  It helps that she likes my work so it was so rewarding to work for her.

It is a large painting... 48 x 60" which is bigger than anything I have done before.  My first challenge was finding a place to paint!  After some rearrangement in my studio, I was able to cover the wall and prop it up on a table.    Then paint to canvas.

Getting paint on the canvas.  Whites, grays, buff and a few sprays of alcohol ink


Limited edition reproductions are in my Etsy shop

A Birthday Present for a Friend

Inspired by my trip to the zoo....

August Retreat

view from the hot tub

 I've taken four trips in the past year, two of them alone. Though I love good company, traveling alone is fine if you have the right mind-set.  About an hour from my home is a rental cabin on the Skykomish River in Index Washington which I rented for 5 days in August.  Initially it was going to be a girls' retreat with my BFF but it turned out to be a solo retreat.  I knew it would be a great opportunity to get in a lot of painting, since there was no TV or wifi.   I do love nature and nature did abound in this place.  At least the flora... never saw a fauna.   I did miss technology... sadly.

R and R by the river

Loved the trains tooting by several times a day.

The living room... nice cabin  
My creative space

Two of my paintings from that week.  

All in all, a  sweet and gentle time. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Prolifically Painting these days!

Since the weather has settled down into the 70's,  my art room is a joyful place to be.  The windows are wide open, the maple tree reaches almost to the house now.  I could sit here all day. 

I have set some goals for my art.  My 2013 goal was to submit work to Stampington & Co. magazines to try to get published.   I did it!  Just this week, I sent 3 pieces in.   Now it is up to them, but I met my goal.  

Recently two ladies from my Kelly Rae Roberts Flyers group each set up a different forum for getting our work "out there".  One of the groups is a Facebook page where only flyers may post work and other people may visit by invitation and buy if so moved.  This is in the works.  The other group is on Pinterest and is called Gallery 593.  Anyone can subscribe to our boards but only "flyers" can post to it.  I am very happy to be a part of these two groups and continue to be amazed at the opportunities that online social media groups offer to the entrepreneur.  

One more goal I have is to transfer my blog to Wordpress.  I am working my way towards having my own website and WordPress offers the forum I am looking for.  So watch out for this transfer.  

And lastly, I have been prolific lately!  Here are some new paintings right of the press. 

Girl with a fur hood.
Acrylics on claybord.  8 x 10" 

Play Happy
9 x 12" claybord, acrylics, ink, collage

Girl with her doll
8 x 10" on claybord

Queen  for the Day
12 x12" claybord
acrylics, ink  and collage
inspired by the work of Maria Pace-Wynters

Lady with the hat and necklace
9 x 12" on claybord
Inspired by Modigliani

First stage of painting

I had kind of a block going, but think I am unstuck.  Half the problem was just getting up to the studio.   Another issue was the solitariness of creating.  I usually love that, but have wanted a way to have other artists to connect to other than online.  
Recently, I took a one day sketching on location class in Edmonds, WA.  At this class I found out about a group of artists who meet together every Friday on Whidbey Island at various locations to sketch and share.  (I mentioned this on a previous post)   You should check out their blog.  Lots of very talented artists!  So far I have visited a winery, an artistically eclectic home and the Pronkin' Pastures of Alpacas.  I lived on Whidbey for 25 years yet never saw or even heard of the places we are visiting.  It is renewing my love for that island.  I'm not quite ready to post on that blog (they are all SO GOOD) but here is the little vignette I sketched on Friday.  We sat right in the pasture with a dozen or more of them and they would come right up to snoop at what we were doing.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Recent Work

Though summer is a busy time,  I still love to hideaway in my sunny studio room.  I've continued to try out new skills and materials.  My latest favorite art supply are the new Montana markers.  These little jewels are a paint pin filled with acrylic paint.  I've bought some of the fine tips (my favorite) and the extra fine.  LOVE THESE PENS for details and doodles.  
They even have empty ones that you can fill and refill yourself AND replaceable tips.  These will be my go-to markers. 

I haven't blogged about much work lately.  I am working at it, but my work now includes urban sketching (for practice and outdoor fun) and finishing up on a huge journal/scrapbook of my Paris trip.  
Here are some of my latest girls.  

Seeking Serenity
Mixed media with acrylic, pastels, ink, wash tape, collage papers on stretched canvas

Time to Fly
Mixed media with acrylics, pens, collage papers,  pastels on clay board.  

Three Friends
Mixed media on clay board

The paintings were photographed, not scanned so the colors are not as clear as the original.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Day with the Whidbey Island Sketchers

On rather the spur of a moment, I trekked up to Whidbey Island today to play with the Whidbey Island Sketchers group. They meet weekly at various places on the island and today it was at the Spoiled Dog Winery near Langley. Hating ferry lines as I do, I cooked up a plan to take my bicycle in my car as far as Mukilteo, abandon the car and take the ferry across and bike the rest of the way. 

It was only about 3 and 1/2  miles, after all. Well! Even though I had lived at one time on Whidbey for 25 years, I had never biked this route and soon discovered it was an endless hill. In the hot sun.  Did I say uphill?  After a mile and a half of going up, it then went back down to sea level, meaning my return trip was going to be just as big of a gruel as getting there.  I didn't even get to enjoy the mile ride downhill, because I was thinking about how I'd have to pedal back up it on my way back.   In my head, I was plotting how I'd have to try to catch a bus going back and throw my rig on the forky thingy they have on the front. 

As I arrived at the winery, any reluctance I had had about coming disappeared. What a beautiful place.  

I was warmly greeted by the owner and introduced to the other sketchers, all a warm bunch of people. 
I chose a spot close to the barn and in the shade and picked a corner to sketch. 

I was out of my league with this group, many of them being professional artists.  The beauty of being a member of the "older set" is that it is OK to be out of my league.  It gives others an opportunity to look good and that is a good thing.  And nobody really gives a hoot anyway.  

I say "WOW" A-Mazing.  I want to learn from this dude.

But, it was a comraderic (my own word!) group, and there was much joy whiling the afternoon in such a pastime.  A little wine-tasting didn't hurt to top off the day. 

This was my view/corner that I drew/painted:

My first sketch.. a two page spread in my little sketchbook.  I was not happy with  the values coming out mostly the same.  I have a ways to go with the watercolor medium..  I am still treating it too much like acrylics.  

This one was better.  More watercolor-y.   So much to learn... like how much detail with the black pen?  

It became my lucky, lucky day, when one of the sketchers offered to haul my bike and me back to the ferry dock, since he lived close by. I love a good bike ride but do NOT enjoy endless  hills.

Sun, ferry boats, vineyards,  water colors and sketch pad, wine and friendly folks makes for an awesome day. 

Check out the Whidbey Island Sketchers website here and enjoy their amazing sketches around Whidbey.  So inspiring.