Saturday, June 9, 2018

I'm baack!

My brain has been on idle for the past six months.  I'm still out there creating art, but the business of posting got lost in the shuffle.
So, here are a few things I have done since my last post.  (Bless me Father for I have....not blogged) ;-)
What I did do recently was fly to California to participate in a plein air oil painting class with Carol Marine.  About a dozen hardy women and one lovely man took a class in and around Carmel and Pacific Grove.  I am so happy I did this, it tested my mettle.  I didn't embarrass myself (too much) by tripping over the tripod.  I did discover that trucking off by yourself with two suitcases and a backpack will not be happening again.  My forays into plein air will be here in the Northwest where I can drive my car and paint my favorite parts of Whidbey Island all without being too far from my wheels.  Things I learned, I hope: Blocking in to examine the value and design of the scene you want to paint.  Red cellophane helps to see the lack of values.  Details come later and as Sergei Bongart said, "don't paint the fleas before the dog"  This is harder than you might think!  I'm still trying to work on the block in work we did in the field and if anything comes from it, you will see it here.
Meanwhile, I took my sketchbook instead of oils up the hill to see China Cove and the bird sanctuary at Pt. Lobos and this is what I am posting along with a couple of current sketches.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December sketching

November and December fly by and I feel lucky to find time to sit and meditate while sketching.
In November we went to the Olympic Mist Alpaca Farm, learned how to make eco printed silk scarves and make a not so quick sketch of the lovely and surprisingly friendly alpacas.  It was a standing up, freezing my fingers sketch, but the girls were wonderful and hung out with me!

One of my favorite subjects is the Fossek Farm and the view while at St Hubert's at 3rd and DeBruyn.  I was driving up the street one morning and the light was so unique that I pulled over and sketched a couple of different views while sitting in the sunshine-filled car.

This was sketched and shaded with water-soluble walnut ink.

Yesterday we went to Debra Campbell's beautiful home and had our pick of wonderful vignettes to sketch.  I managed three!
So, let's see if I can get these sketches on the page so they make sense...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Double Bluff

Double Bluff is everyone's favorite walking spot.  We take our dogs for a run, watch for Rainier, judge how much the hill has slipped and hope children don't climb the bluff while we are watching.
It's also a draw at any time for the changing light.  I have sketched it a lot, but the most memorable was on a freezing February when the sun was around behind the bluff at about 2pm.  I decided to drive by because it was a "sunny day", freezing but sunny.  I took out my sketchbook and made a 20-minute sketch with watercolor noting the light reflections on the great puddle, then went home and made a larger painting.  That painting is in Watercolor and is at the bottom of this page.  The others are oil paintings.
The dog walk at Double Bluff or Pick up Stix

Sm 8x10 on canvas showing the bright light we get here.

From the bluffs on the way to the beach- oil - sold

Mt Rainier and the Fort.  Hottest day every and
early days of my oil painting career

16x20 framed Watercolor of Winter Sun reflection
 on the beach.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Wales and Ireland part two

Entrance to the burial chamber at Newgrange.  The winter solstice lit up the inside through this opening to release the souls
 of the dead!
In this section, there will be more photos, particularly of places there was no time to sketch or the subject was so large (Newgrange) the I could not get far enough away to give you a scope of the subject.

Newgrange  "Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however, Newgrange is now recognized to be much more than a passage tomb.  Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.

Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art.  The 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof.  The amount of time and labor invested in the construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialized groups responsible for different aspects of construction."  (from their web page)

Ok, I'm drinking a beer (it should be Irish Whiskey) and remembering the feeling of standing under stones that are about five feet over my head.  Imagine putting your hands on top of one another until you have the final stone(s) to cap this tomb!  Is your hair standing on end yet?  There are alcoves where the bones of dead were left for the year.  You are standing under stones that were placed there 5,200 years ago!  Maybe its the beer, but maybe its, Holy smokes, how could they do this!  To put it into perspective, all the stones were gathered from 12 miles away at the river Boyne, rolled UPHILL, and then put in place designed by some 5,200-year-old genius, who understood, scientifically the Sun's alignment and how it would affect this chamber.  This was done BEFORE THE EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS WERE BUILT!  Is your brain doing calculations yet?
The only graffiti was from 1867 or so, from someone who discovered this chamber.  Newgrange is a restored place and middle size of three that have been explored or restored.  Some smaller mounds are being saved for future scientist/archeologists to discover. Please click on the link above to learn more about this extraordinary place.
Newgrange burial mound

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wales and Ireland

My husband and I took another trip to Europe as a follow-on to last years trip to England and Scotland.  This year it was to learn about woman saints who lived in and changed lives in Wales and Ireland.  We started in Cardiff, traveled around Wales for a week, then took the largest ferry I've ever seen; traveled throughout the south of Ireland, returning home via Dublin.
The Irish sea takes a long time to cross even with a ferry that can hold large buses and giant trucks.  Our largest ferry is very small compared to these cavernous beasts!

I'm always impressed at the history and beauty of the countries we have visited.  The sites we were following were from the 5th to 9th century.  The women saints were St. Non, Brigid and Melengell.  St. Non was the mother of St. David, whose incredibly beautiful cathedral we first visited in Pembrokeshire.  
While wandering toward St. Non's church (lost again), I came across three young boys between the ages of 7 thru 10 and their dog.   One was wearing a tiger costume, the other two were definitely leaders and did their best to help me find my way, ending up walking me the whole way.  By this time I was having foot problems and couldn't walk very fast.  It was sad to miss the walk along the cliffs overlooking the sea near St. Nons.

St. Melengell (Pennant Melangell) was the first woman to provide sanctuary for politically threatened citizens.  She started by protecting the wildlife where she was living in the woods, gained the respect of the Prince and was given the area to build a Monastery (church)?

Brigid founded a religious order for women, became the Abbess of a dual monastery and was believed to be appointed a Bishop of Kildare.
I missed the details of a lot of these stories because I was off and running when we arrived at a site to try and make a meaningful sketch.  
This sketch of Brigid's well appealed to me because it was in a beautiful natural setting, undisturbed by the surrounding farm.  Brigid's sculpture was sketched at the Solas Bhride Centre in Kildare.  This modern center is run by Catholic nuns and volunteers.  I was so impressed with the beautiful modern design it was hard to concentrate on sketching the statue outside.

Round towers like Monasterboyce and Clonmacnoise were built to save people and treasure during a Viking raid.  The access was by a ladder at least ten feet above ground,  which was then pulled up and in for protection during a raid.

The round tower at Clonmacnoise was the top of a larger tower which over time fell off, then restored as this smaller version.  It was a rainy day and I found a quiet enclosed, very modern, glass-walled structure where I set up my sketching supplies to make a painting of the tower.  In the middle of the sketch, a group of Phillipino parishioners and their priest came into this building and talked about history and then started praying!  I didn't know if I should stay or go but decided to finish.  They eventually stopped and then gathered around me to see what I was working on.  It turned out I had set up my work on the Altar!

Round tower at Monasterboyce, was a quick sketch in a small book set up on top of a gravestone.  I could see everyone listening to the history about large Celtic crosses and learned later that stone crosses were built to keep the Vikings from stealing the wooden crosses and burning them.

My favorite location was the Monastic city in Glendalough via the Wicklow mountains. We arrived later in the afternoon and wandered across the street to get familiar with our location.  It was late enough that the sun was low in the sky and raindrops were putting a sparkle on everything.  The cemetery was crowded with crosses and stones, it was unkempt and wild underfoot - like walking deer trails here at home.  It felt like it had always been that way, even in the 8th century.  I was surrounded by beautiful ruins, crosses, huge trees and another round tower; it was as if I had crossed into a different century.

What I haven't mentioned:  Newgrange, Trinity College Dublin, St. Govan's head.  That will be in the next post along with a few more pictures and sketches.
St Brigid's Well, surrounded by farmland

Restored round tower at Clonmacnoise near Boyne Valley, Wales

Round tower at Monasterboyce

Look left at Kevins church and right toward a round tower (Monastic City, Glendalough, Ire.)
View of the crucifix hanging from the decorative woodwork at St. Davids
Also, small sculptures in the Treasury.  (Watersoluble walnut ink)
More decorative woodwork & stone sculptures memorializing St. Mellengell
who stood up to the Prince by hiding rabbits under her cloak.  He admired her and
gave her land to build a church that became a sanctuary for endangered citizens.
Bangor Wales, we caught the Irish ferry from here.

Newport, Pembrokeshire Wales, the best chocolate ever!

Snowdonia National Park through the restaurant window
 overlooking the Park.  What I would give to wander those hills!

St. Brigid - Solas Bhride Centre

St. Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire Wales
The upper sketch was made while listening to the choir practice! 

St. Mary's church for just women - part of the Monastic City

Overlooking the Irish Sea

St Seriol's well at Penmon Priory Anglesey, Wales

Rainy day in the Cathedral, Monastic City - Glendalough, Ireland

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nancy Salmon's Garden

What a treat!  This was my kind of creative gardening, a beautiful house, and art in the garden.  Nancy is a delight, has 3 gorgeous Bernese Mountain dogs, collects recycled items and incorporates them into her large garden.  She is lucky to have her own well too as the sprinkler was merrily watering the whole time we were there.  Down here in Langley, we pay big bills, even on a small lot.  I'm jealous!
Deb and I arrived a day early, thanks to Mary and Nancy.  I'm monitoring a class starting tomorrow and she had a Dr's appt five minutes away today, so we asked about sketching Thursday.
The front of the house caught my eye with the symbol of the salmon and the colorful orange umbrella.  Later, I slipped around the side of the house and drew the back of the "Outhouse".  It has a gothic window frame that really dresses it up!  Our sketchers group will have fun tomorrow!!!

Clever garden outhouse (back)

Mary in the front garden, Salmon on the chimney.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Singing in the Garden

I wasn't singing in the garden, but I did hum along. The group Triptych was performing at Lavender Wind Farm in Coupeville.  My artist friend, Claudia Mitchell invited Ted and me to come enjoy the afternoon and hear her sing.
Triptych is an instrumental group led by trombonist John Leeser; they play songs from the Big Band era. Eileen Soskin on piano and bassist John Hughs rounded out the group. Claudia Mitchell fit right into the group.  She has a beautiful, classically trained voice.  We loved being there!
I knew my husband would enjoy this music and he stepped right up for an afternoon relaxing outside.

Instead of a Lavender Festival, Sarah has been promoting concerts in the garden surrounded by the beautiful blooming lavender.

Thank you, Sarah!  If I had been smart enough to read your wonderful website, I would have seen you had sandwiches for sale and we could have avoided Bubba burger.  Nothing against Bubba dogs, but an Italian Submarine sandwich does sound really yummy!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Al Anderson house

July 30, 2017, almost ready! Back door entry.

June 7, 2015, under repair! Side view from Langley cemetery.
It's been a couple of years since they started remodeling this historic old farmhouse. I painted the 2015 sketch while sitting in the nearby cemetery.

My dog and I watch the changes happening while walking in the morning. The early morning light makes the old trees have dramatic shadows on the grass in the Spring; the late afternoon light puts a spotlight on the new green house color.   Amazingly, the front door faces North and is small and unattractive and I never noticed because it faces the Pea Patch and flower gardens, which grew up years after the house was built.
There are many apple trees on the property and three cows that love apples.  My idea of fun is to collect apples in the Fall and bring them to feed the cows.  It takes getting over being squeamish to put it directly in their mouth!  They have very long black tongues!

This house will become a vrbo, for rent.  The upgrades in the kitchen are modern but look compatible with the rest of the house.  It is cozy, sunny, and reminiscent of the era in which it was built; whoever stays there will enjoy the atmosphere and the neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Business cards

I love square moo cards, a painting on the front and information on the back!  Here are two of 10 different images.

But, let's get real, they go out the door fast!  A more realistic approach was needed so I used a colorful image of a painting I gave to my daughter as a house warming gift, and after cropping, it ended up as a squarish image on a vertical card with a pyramid of contact information below.
The original is 5x7; you would see more of the top and bottom.

This card was made at Vistaprint.  I hope that they are snappy enough to catch your eye in my cardholder at Whidbey Art Gallery.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


There was a chill in the air last week, so we met at Paula's and sketched forgeries.
A book on Modigliani immediately caught my attention.  I love the direct gaze of the sitter and the color blocking in the background.  The hands show she really is a "woman of the people", they are large and work-worn compared to her beautifully shaped head and organized hair style.  Her scarf or ribbon around her neck seem to be a desire to look pretty, yet the shawl sets the tone and makes the composition strong.  Even the pictures on the wall add interest bringing your eye up and around; then the block of color by her hip direct you down to the hands.  
He didn't need to define the eyes, it was all in the shapes, even the eyes were just shapes!  
I started this forgery from the cover of the book and then took the time to look inside and discover the hands.  With that discovery, she went from a beautiful young woman to a person with a laborious job.  I wonder how she aged?

Full portrait found inside the book

From the cover of Modigliani and the Artists of Montparnasse,
this is titled, Young Woman of the People
 This is Rebecca sitting sketching in the sunshine on Judith's porch.  It was a bright beautiful afternoon, so I made the lighting delicate.
A bright light filled afternoon on Judith's porch.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


I just read the post before last.  It said I would post some oils.  Oops!  Here is one, more coming!

I'm baack!

My brain has been on idle for the past six months.  I'm still out there creating art, but the business of posting got lost in the shuff...