November 17, 2009

Leaving White

(watercolor by Charles Reid)

The style I love most in watercolor painting is one that leaves plenty white of the paper showing through - meaning not every inch of the paper is painted. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but to me this is vital in watercolor painting because the paper, the white, the blank space, is as important as the color brushed on. When painting you have to plan for those spaces and even practice a bit of self control and wait. For some reason it's my tendency to want to fill in everything - like I'm coloring in a coloring book. Why is that? Even as I go through the day with work, errands and even my hobbies, I feel like every moment must be productive, "colored in" in order to be a "good" day. Quite frankly I don't believe I'm leaving enough white of the paper. I'm not talking laying in front of the TV and tuning out. I'm talking about
being intentional ...


sitting still...

not coloring...

leaving some white.
Just like in painting, if we take a moment and let that white shine through - the color becomes stronger - more effective, more meaningful. Is not life meant to be more than just ploughing through quickly so you can race to the finish line and shout I won!!!! In the mean time, your work - art, sales, teaching, writing, adding numbers, flipping burgers, whatever -is finished but is it your best work?
Several years ago I taught a close friend to watercolor paint. Once a week she came to my place after work and we would set up a still life and paint. One night she really messed up a very nice painting in an effort to finish it so she could go home. So she hurried through, not thinking or planing - just filling in and quite honetly you could tell.

Just something I'm thinking about as I wrestle with doing life and art better.

(This is the work of Charles Reid - one of my favorite watercolor artists because of how he shows light by leaving the white of the paper. I recommend any of his books - he offers great advice about his technique. Better yet, take a workshop.)

November 4, 2009

Just a House - but a Very Loved House

There's so much to remember from life, maybe too much. We have photos of so many things we love and want to remember. But I think a painting of something you love really owns a special place in your heart and memory. Be it an animal, a place you visited, flower bouquet or in this case a first home, there are important moments that need to be remembered in a special way. I was so honored when I was asked to paint the first home of a special family here in St. Louis. She chose me out of all the artists she knows because I captured the way she wanted to remember her first home. I'm so honored and flattered. The craziness is that they are trying to sell it and have been having a difficult time. Can you imagine this place not being grabbed up? Contact me if you need a beautiful house that's been loved and is full of love.

August 25, 2009

I Hate Being Sick! (and other deep thoughts...)

I nearly fell over when I realized I haven't posted anything on my little blog in over a month. Since July 1 my life can not be called anything but a whirlwind and now it has come down to a box of tissues and Halls lemon cough drops. The body is an amazing thing... it will only take so much wear and tear before it demands your attention and care. And, I have to admit, I've not been taking very good care of myself... "too busy!"
Currently the best position to be in, one where I don't cough, is to be still, very still. And so I organized, planned and got a better grip on all that's before me. Later, I clipped a few zinnias from the pots on my porch and painted. These are my "Still Day Zinnias"

July 23, 2009

Watercolor Collage for Evalynn

A commission I finished recently. Within the watercolor there are elements that are collaged into the art that are special to the recipient making it a very personal and original gift- hard to do especially when you don't know the person. But I liked this piece. I love this part of town here in St. Louis too.

June 26, 2009

Oh so busy...

I've been neglecting my blog. Life does get busy and currently there is so much going on. It seems that all I can manage to commit to at this time is a weekly posting. So for those of you who are faithful followers (and I know who you are ;) know, first and foremost, I'm sorry for not posting more often and I promise to post once a week so look for new paintings and updates on the weekends.

My aunt is an amazing china painting artist living in Waco, Texas. I have many china pieces she has painted for me over the years. She does amazing and beautiful work and it's very time consuming. So I feel lucky to have as many pieces as I do. After each layer of painting she must fire the piece and let it cool before she can go back and add more paint to the porcelain. She's a patient woman that's for sure. She recently painted this platter for a older couple who just got married. You can tell a Texan loves all things Texas.

June 22, 2009


Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. - H.D. Thoreau

June 13, 2009

Charlotte Cox - Watercolor Artist and Friend

When I lived in San Antonio, Texas I saw my art improve by leaps and bounds. Yes, I was taking classes and I had an exceptional teacher but I would have to say that the main reason I became a better artist was because of Charlotte. met sweet Charlotte in one of my art classes. Soon we became good friends and we had such a good time being together that we made it a rule not to sit next to each other in class because we didn’t get any painting done for talking too much. Charlotte ALWAYS painted! She had and still has a passion to paint and dragged me out to paint with her at least once a week. She also worked a very full time job and was quite successful at that as well. I don't know how she did it all!She offered helpful criticism and saw the good in my work when I was angry and just couldn’t see beyond all the mistakes. Her friendship kept my head above water those first months I was dealing with the end of my seven year long marriage. There were days where I would preferred to stay home, but Charlotte got me out and we painted, cried and then painted some more. You can see her work here. I'm showing you several of my favorite watercolors from her "sketch book". Fabulous work and so spontaneous and confident! I’m a big believer in creating a community of friends who are not only cheerleaders for your artistic endeavors but offer helpful criticism. Charlotte helped me pick the paintings I submitted to my first art show. She also told me where to get slides made of these paintings for submission. She helped me every step of the way when I was first starting to show my work. I sold all three paintings. I remember my mom called me from the show (it was in Virginia) and asked me what the red dots by my paintings meant. I LOVE RED DOTS!!!! Developing these friends takes time and sometimes it just happens. Charlotte and I are friends first and foremost but it was watercolor that brought us together and still keeps us connected. Her work moves me! Hope you enjoy.

May 11, 2009

Monday Morning...

"There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats
that enables us to come off
as a sane person."
- Dan Greenburg

May 9, 2009

Here Comes the Bride...

Here is yet another bridal bouquet.... yep it's that time of year. Lots of weddings and hopefully lots of cake. But the prettiest part, after the bride of course, is the flowers!!! If only they would last. Well you are in luck! I've decided to paint custom watercolors of bridal bouquets. You can go here to get more info.

Today is Paint Webster Plein Air Competition. So with paper, paints and a relatively uncomfortable chair in hand I head out to paint a little part of the world I live....

See you when I get back.

May 8, 2009

I Can't Paint the World

... but boy if I could...
I get frustrated with the little time I have to actually paint. And I have to remind myself even these little quick paintings matter, if only to remind me that I AM a painter. I Am an artist.

Even when I had more time I always tried to put too much into a painting. I remember an important lesson my favorite watercolor teacher taught me one day when we were outside painting in plein air. I had taken on way too much and I was tired, rushing and so far from finishing the painting. She told me "You can't paint the world" then suggested I narrow my focus to a much smaller area of the landscape next time. So the next time I did just that. At the time I thought" How boring!! How is this going to be anything "frame worthy?". But now looking back these tree trunk paintings, they are some of my favorites and they're not in frames. I'm still challenged with always, always, always producing a frame worthy painting. But I have to remember that seeing and focusing on elements - not the whole world - is where beauty lies and you become that individual artist letting the world in on what you see.

So remember all you frustrated artists, just like me, who never have time to paint the world - you NEVER will be able to paint the world.

1. Sit down and sit still for at least 10 minutes. Look, really look at everything. What does your eye keep going back to?
2. Paint or draw just that element. Even if it's a 15 minute sketch painting. That's fine. Do it, paint it, don't worry about creating a masterpiece or framing or if it's a good enough to give to Aunt Sally for her 79th birthday.
3. Don't judge it. Not now. Close it up. Put it away - especially if you're like me and want to always paint masterpieces.
4. Look at it the next day or next week. Set it out so you can see it while you fold the laundry or cut up veggies for dinner.

Finally - you will grow to appreciate these glimpses of your world, of what you see and can recreate.

Then... do it again!

April 20, 2009

French Watercolor

My brother just hung the French flower shop watercolor I gave him in his new house. I love the aprons and it's in great light.

April 19, 2009

St. Louis Handmade

Since moving to St. Louis nearly 1.5 years ago, I'm absolutely blown away at how strong the art community is here. Recently I was featured on a blog site for local artists here in St. Louis called St. Louis Handmade. Tammy Tutterow is an amazing artist herself. She too works a full time job and manages her creative life at night and on the weekends, THEN, keeps up this blog. I don't think she sleeps. Maybe she's one of those vampire artists... hmmm
Anyway, take a second to visit the blog. The site is beautiful. Also, you'll get to meet other artists and view their art as well.

Inspiration on the Web

Recently I've been really inspired by some fabulous artists I've found wondering around on the WORLD WIDE WEB. Their art and creativity just makes me happy. These artists are full of color, beauty and they just "stink" of creativity. If you don't see and feel this in their art you certainly get it from the writing on their blogs. Enjoy and be inspired...

Kelly Rae - you can check our her blog here.This is the art and collage work of Sarah Ahearn and she has both a blog and Etsy shop.

And last but not least is Amanda Kavanagh who I found in a book entitled 1000 Artist Journal Pages by Dawn DeVries Sokol. I love love love her travel sketches. You can look at them here. Her work reminds me of the Sara Midda. But she paints in so many mediums and just blows me away with her talent.

April 1, 2009

Spring and her flowers

I wish these ranuculas were popping out of my own garden - but instead they're popping out of the shelves at Trader Joe's and that's good enough for me. So here is a couple of my watercolors. I love the orangy-yellow colors. So the exercise was to keep as much white on the paper and to work fairly quickly. I know that the watercolors I am drawn to are "loose" and that's what true watercolor is - letting the water work and the white of the paper show through.

March 21, 2009

Another Bridal Bouquet

Here's the original photo of the bride's bouquet.

And this is the watercolor version - Size 11" x 14"

Cupcake Heaven...

... also known as my birthday week. Thank the good Lord for friends and family because quite frankly they really help me "celebrate" birthdays I'm just am not excited to have. (I'm not old enough to be that number!!!!) I did have a good week and work is improving. I'm learning more and more of the medical terms and can actually speak of procedures and know what I'm talking about and I found time to paint here and there but the best part of all...

I had dinner with a close group of girlfriends here in St. Louis and we ate
CUPCAKES!Then Phil, Becca and Kennedy took me for a birthday picnic in the park today and we ate CUPCAKES!Kennedy isn't allowed to have cupcakes yet and she might be a little sad about thatBut instead of being blue she decided she would eat her dad's hat. Yum!

March 16, 2009

Another Fancy Schmancy Hat

Well, look at you!!!! I knitted several of these remnant hats for my friends and family - I think Kennedy looks the cutest! I love that she pretty much likes any and everything at this point in her life. She loves her dog so much she kisses him or maybe she's trying to gobble him up.Elle, poor poor doggy Elle has to suffer under the love of Baby Kennedy. She's got a great heart but just won't let her near her peanut butter filled toy. So whenever Kennedy races for it at lighting crawl speed - Elle just moves it out of reach. Kennedy still determined tries again and Elle moves it again. This would go along for quite some time if an adult did not protect the dog from this determined little girl. Kids and dogs!!!! LOVE 'EM!

March 15, 2009

Sunday - A Day of Rest

But, is painting rest? People often say to me "Painting must be so relaxing!" Well, sometimes. But for me it can be anything but, especially if I have a commission and I'm concerned 100 times more about the outcome than if I were painting for myself. One thing I LOVE painting is flowers. A couple of weeks ago I asked all my friends to send me pictures of their bridal bouquets. I thought it would be a great idea to create an artistic memory of the bride's bouquet on her wedding day. So here is my first one. I hope to post more of these bouquet watercolors then create a new link on my website which bride's or friends of the bride can go to get information about having their own bouquet painted in watercolors. Of course, like all things in my life, this happens much slower now that I have a VERY full time job. So today, I rested a little, painted a little, rested some more and then finally posted on my blog. Let my know what you think.

February 24, 2009

The Art Spirit

Recently a friend lent me a book called "I Married Adventure" by Luci Swindoll. I rolled my eyes a little before I finally picked it up to do a skim over and then politely return it. I was afraid it was going to be a "how to" book on enjoying single life when the would be "married life" doesn't happen or fails... you know, "learning to be happy when you're profoundly disappointed." I wasn't really up for it. I'm learning to handle the disappointment a little better now. I'm use to it like I am the wrinkles around my eyes. Don't really like them, but there's really not much I can do about it. So to my shocking surprise - I've really enjoyed this book. This woman writes of her life and struggles and it's most encouraging. How much opportunity us single gals have. I never saw my life so adventurous as when I was able to read about another single woman's life. Look at all the experiences I have had both wanted and unwanted because of my "singleness." It's been really encouraging. And I recommend it to anyone not just the single folks. In the book she mentioned a book I've owned forever "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri. And I pulled it from the stacks. So glad I did. With this new job, the painting is not a daily activity, but the desire for it is. I'm going to tuck this book in my bag, so when I'm waiting in some doc office in O'Fallon, I won't forget what my eyes were made to see and my hands made to do.
I also picked up another book, "The Prodical Son" by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen a priest is drawn to the Rembrandt painting of the same name. It's exciting to see what thoughts, emotions and prayers come from this amazing painting. If only I could paint something one day that allows new thoughts to trickle into the viewer's heart and speak to their soul. Art can change your life. So now all I can manage to do is read about art, I know that it will inspire as well. And as I always I hope to inspire you at any stage of the creative process you may be at. At some point picking up the brush is desired but until then, keep looking. Don't forget how to see.

February 13, 2009

Love ...

Happy Valentine's Day. Granted it's a questionable holiday for many. But whether you have romantic love or not, shouldn't be the point. If you are living, functioning and on this earth chances are you love someone on some level and someone loves you. Celebrate. I wouldn't be surprised to hear in a couple of years that scientists "discover" that what really makes the sun rise and set and the earth spin is simply the love that is given and received day to day. It has to create some kind of energy --some power.

Also Valentine's Day is the pink and red holiday - I just love those colors.
(I recently discovered spray glitter and sprayed these hymn paintings with it once I was done. Soft shimmery sparkles. They made the ink of the hymn paper run a bit, but I like it.)

I bought myself green roses today - chartreuse green. So different and fun.

Do something pink for someone. Wear red lipstick. Chew pink bubble gun and blow bubbles. Tell a stranger he/she looks nice. make yourself a valentine. Smile while you are crying. Love starts out simply I think. Sometimes the hardest person to show love to is yourself. We are so critical and hard on ourselves (Actually that previous sentence should have started with "I") Love feels so complicated and mysterious at times. But for the most part I think it's simple. It's hard to act when you don't "feel" love. But the action is love whether the feeling is there or not. So today Love yourself, love another. Just try a day of ONLY LOVE.

January 20, 2009


No matter your politics - this is a GREAT day. The inauguration of Barack Obama should scream to every American that we are a country of change and possibility. In 1991 and 1992 I was an English teacher in China. Even though I went there to "help" a handful of soon to be English teachers, I received alot of life lessons myself. What broke my heart was learning that so many of my students did not want to be teachers. The had NO CHOICE. Of course there were some that were happy about being a teachers, others who felt lucky, but the ones who wanted to be something else really struggled with their plight. Because I was an International Studies Major in College I understood what communism was, but it wasn't until my year in China I saw the effects of communism on individuals. I realized what a huge opportunity I had by just being a citizen of the United States. When I returned to the U.S. ( and I was anxious to do so) a year later I enrolled in a graduate program for screen and script writing. No, life may not be always what I dream. But I am sooooooo glad I live in a country where I am allowed to dream and allowed to pursue my dreams. GOD BLESS AMERICA! Click here to learn more about this painting.

January 19, 2009

Just a little something...

... before I head out to work. To keep my eyes seeing and my heart happy - even if I'm in my car all day. Happy Monday and try to do something that feeds your heart.

January 14, 2009


Looks like I'll be in this state for some time - the "state" of transition. It's ironic, we pray for change even beg for it. But when it comes it still can be tough. I miss creativity. Since starting my new job - yes a blessing for a worried heart like myself - I've had no time to even visit those parts of me that use to dominate my life, like blogging, reading other blogs, painting, reading books, sewing, planning or even looking. It's been all work, long days. So when I do have moments - they are valuable and I make sure I make the time for painting. I have to. Last weekend I finished this painting... Fall leaves.Around November I walked through my neighborhood here is St. Louis and collected some gorgeous leaves to paint. I pressed them until I could finally get to finishing the painting. I really like this one. I loved the colorful fall this year. The first one I had lived in for nearly 10 years. So if I love the fall I must accept the cold gray days of winter. If you think about it, the cycles of life are all about transition - the way the seasons change, plants grow and children develop. It's a constant reminder that change is part of life. And even though this transition is not very comfortable, I have to remember that I won't stay in this state forever. So my mornings of reading in my favorite chair are shorter or not at all and I miss that time. But when I do have the time I can't even begin to tell you how much more I enjoy it.


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