Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Assembling my Christmas tree!

This year, I bought a metal tree, actually meant for outside decor, but I wrapped lots and lots of tulle ribbon around the metal branches to "create" the actual body of the tree.  It took me 3 full days to wrap the tree, but the results were well worth the time.  It is really magical to see at night.  Many strangers, who were out for a walk in our neighborhood,  have stopped to comment on how much they love our Christmas tree!  Needless to say, I will be storing this very carefully, so that I won't have to rewrap it next year.  I have two Christmas trees, and this one is in my funky, arty room.  The other one is a traditional green tree with Santa ornaments and red balls.  I love this time of year, when we all have lots of parties, and for me, remembering Christ's birthday, and remembering friends who we haven't seen all year.  Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

Finished Christmas tree

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reusing old paintings for pencil boxes

I'm all about recycling things, these days.  I eat a lot of almonds, and save the container to reuse for holding markers, buttons, pencils, brushes, and bookmarks, not to mention many other uses!  When I don't like the way a painting turned out, I add embellishments, and cut it out to the height of the almond can.  Then I wrap  it around the outside, and glue it down.  There you have it! I just counted my almond containers that are awaiting covers.  I have 30!!  Do you think that maybe I love almonds????!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Crazy Lady sketch

Sorry I haven't posted lately.  No excuses, just moving forward from here.  This is one of my daily 30 minute sketches.  I belong to a Facebook group called Urban Sketchers Midwest, and one of the members posted a drawing in which he scribbled as part of his skeching technique.  I loved it so much that I decided to do the scribbling technique in one of my Crazy Lady series. After scribbling the hair, and then scribbling the background, I filled in part of the scribbles, just like I used to do when I was a kid.  It was so much fun! Thanks to James Nutt for the inspiration.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Redoing Old Paintings

Back on November 23rd, I posted a blog about redoing old paintings.  I promised to show you what I would do with that painting, and FINALLY, I'm showing you what I did.  This painting started out by Gail Speckmann, and then, we exchanged paintings and allowed the other artist to paint on our “old dog” paintings.  I turned her traditional painting into an abstract, but as I'm often prone to do, I got too busy with tiny shapes.  So, now, this painting had 2 beginnings with “not-so-good” end results.  That's when I turn them into journals.  Although these take about 2 hours to complete, and I only sell them for $25 dollars each, they aren't the most productive use of my time, but I really enjoy making them.  And they always expand my imagination.  Sometimes, I think it is fun to turn off all the "rules" of painting and just have fun!!!!  I cut the pattern out, then coat the top side with gloss medium.  I paint the inside with an opposite, WOW color, and then enclose them, using self stick Velcro.  Adding grommets and/or brads complete these little journals into gifts of love.  Really fun to do!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Crazy Lady Series

I'm working hard to get ready for my first open house in 5 years!  Scheduled for Mother's Day weekend, May 12 and 13th, my time is limited, but I'm crunching in every minute so that this will be my best show ever!  I'm still enjoying paintiing cartoon-like ladies with abstract backgrounds.  This one is called , "The Morning After".  I teach this in many of my classes, and it's been a real hit! The finishing detail work is down with either colored pencils or colored markers.  I love doodling!  This painting will be a part of my martini and wine painting corner at my show.  I'm having the show professionally staged by a designer friend of mine.  So exciting! Hope you can all come!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Easter!

Nothing says Spring quite as well as tulips popping through the ground, right?  My dad's favorite flower is tulips, so I always think of him when I paint them.  I'm preparing for an illusionary watercolor workshop that I'm teaching in Springfield, IL on April 13 – 16th.  There still might be a couple of openings if you contact Mary Selinski at this email:  We’ll be learning how to make objects look ghost-like, so we can see through them.  It took me about 7 years to perfect this technique, but now it's lots easier to do the magic transparent look.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Plein aire painting from Puerto Rico trip

Painting on location can be very challenging.  For me, the biggest challenge is that I prefer to sit while I paint, and in a perfect world, I would bring a large table, a comfortable chair, and a cooler with cool beverages.  Of course, I need to keep it simple and light for carrying; so instead, I bring a fold up chair, hold my painting on my lap, and bend over to the ground to get paint from my palette.  I did something different this time, though, and it really helped.  I did a wet wash ahead of time, and let it dry before painting on location with it.  I also found that if I took a photo of the scene, and then drew from the camera image, that I could draw the scene lots more successfully!  Thank you, modern technology!  I did this painting while on a wonderful painting trip with 6 other artists.  There were palm trees everywhere, so I decided to do my abstract version of them.  I'll always remember the perfect sunny day, the sounds of kids on kayaks nearby, and the peace that I felt painting this scene.  A great big "thank you" to Jim Turner, my friend who owns a house on Puerto Rico, and graciously invites me to come paint with many other artists there.  This was our second time there, and we had a wonderful time, escaping the Minnesota winter for a week.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Good News! Missouri National Watercolor Society Show entry accepted!

Just got my letter of acceptance from the Missouri National Watercolor Society 2012 Exhibition!  This painting is of a student, who took my workshop in Thunder Bay, Canada.  She was so striking, that I asked her if I could take some photos and got her permission to paint her portrait.  I didn't mean to get so detailed with the facial features.  Most of my paintings have more simple shapes to form the contour of the face.  But I did like the results, and intend to do lots more paintings of Anne (pronounced Annie).  I made my own collage papers, using deli paper and carved my own rubber stamps for the impression on the papers.  This is mainly watercolor, but also has acrylic and collage.  I learned how to do the collage papers from the Anne Bagby video.  It is one of my all time favorite art videos.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Acrylic painting, Letting Go

Here is the finished painting from my study that I posted on January 24th.  I'm pleased with the simple shapes and the drama factor of this one.  I've been having so much fun painting in acrylics lately.  I use Strathmore Aquarius paper for the large paintings and I paint on stretched canvases for the smaller ones.  I use completely different procedures for the 2 of them.  This painting was one of the first paintings that I liked after going through the dreaded "January artists' block".  I'm having so much fun looking back through all the 30 minute studies that I've done over the last year and a half, and intend to do many paintings in the next few weeks, using the studies.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New painting, "The Journey"

OK, here it is!  The finished painting, that I called, "The Journey".  It was a struggle to finish this one, but it turned out to be one of my favorites that I've ever painted.  I brought it along to Karlyn's Paint-in last week, and the group really liked it.  In fact, it sold there!!! I love it because it tells a story of my journey as an artist, with lots of inspiration from all the friends in my life.  I try to surround myself with positive people.  No time for negative vibes!  And that tall person right next to me, would be my husband, my greatest support ever, and the love of my life!  I got permission from the buyer to keep it till the end of May, so I'll be able to show it at my open house, and it matches my sister's pillows so well.  I'm going to enter it in a national show also.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Acrylic painting

I'm falling in love with acrylics lately.  I still love watercolor, but only if I can add collage with it.  I'm almost finished with a painting that I started many months ago.  I used this 30 minute study as my model. (done with Tombo markers) I had set the painting aside for several months, due to other things taking priority.  I came up with this idea, that my sister and I should coordinate our art.  She is a seamstress, and makes wonderful pillows and a variety of functional art.  In fact, her business is called Functional Art.  She sewed some beautiful pillows, and I painted a painting to go with them. They are pictured below.  This will be my first coordinating painting!  I'll post it tomorrow.  I really enjoy the process of having fabric as a starting off point for my paintings.  Love the freedom of painting whatever I want, as long as it matches the pillows.  And sometimes, it takes away the stress of picking colors when the artists' block sets in.  Today, I painted with a few friends and we painted from 9:30 till 3:00 p.m.  It was so fun to hear feedback on each other's paintings.  If you don't have a group to paint with, I strongly advise it.  We artists are alone too much of the time, and it feels so good to have friends to talk with, while I paint.  Granted, I wouldn't work well like this every day, but once or twice a month is so good for me!  By the way, my sister's fabric pieces are featured on  Her name is Nancy Klapmeier.  Her link is

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

30 minute study
So, as usual, January has been a tough month for me to get back into my painting.  I take so much time off during December, that I honestly start to doubt myself in January, and there's always a big scary learning curve to get back into my rhythm.  Thank goodness that I do my 30 minute studies!  I turned this one into a painting called "Letting Go..." because that's literally what I had to do, to finally get past the ugly teenage stage.  I just had to "let go" and let whatever happens, be OK.  I’ll post it later on, after I’m done judging it.  What do you do to break though your blocks?  One thing that I do is promise myself that I will paint for only one hour.  It’s hard to even go to my studio, when the artist’s block is in full force.  I even set a timer to make sure that I stay in my studio for that hour.  Usually, once I start painting, the fear goes away, and I get involved in a painting, and before I know it, my husband is home wondering what’s for supper. 

5 minute warm up
Lots of times, I do little 5x 7’s to just get my brush wet, and to loosen up.  One of my students, Anne, reminded me of a lesson that I taught last year- A simple landscape that is a great warm up exercise.  I do these in only 5 minutes!  It’s posted on the left.  If anyone is interested, I'll be featuring these on my website, for only $25.  Hope this has been helpful to those artists out there that have the same anxiety as me, with the artist’s block.  Just go to your studio and paint for an hour.  Bet you can’t just stay there for only an hour…..

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kim Grant Workshop in Guatamala

I have a friend who is teaching a workshop in Guatamala on March 21 - 30th, 2012.  She's a great artist, and really fun to be around.  I can personally vouch for her as a great teacher.  What's not to love about spending time painting in warm climate this time of year???  Sign up soon in order to reserve your spot!  Kim's website is  Here is a description of the workshop: 
 Join Kim Grant for 10 days in beautiful Antigua,Guatemala. Find your own personal artistic expression through creative experimentation with mixed media and collage, layered on paper surfaces. Art in the morning and sightseeing in the afternoon. The total package includes tuition, lodging, transportation, and field trips for $1925. More more information go to or contact Kim at 952-445-8108

Monday, January 9, 2012

First people painting of 2012

I've been working on this painting for the last 4 days.  There are a few things that I like about it, but mostly, I'm just relieved to be done.  It was not fun to paint.  And when it comes down to it, isn't that what we're in this for.....the experience of ENJOYING the process?  It's been so long since I've worked in pure watercolor, and I needed a painting for the Transparent Watercolor of America show, so I promised myself to get one done!  I called it, "Between 2 Worlds" because I could see orbs floating around.  I used a 30 minute study for the idea for this painting. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals for the New Year!

After reading Myrna Wachnov's blog this morning, I decided that I, too, must write down my goals.  Myrna's blog is one of my favorites.  She is such a gifted artist.  You, too, should check it out! 
My goals for 2012 are:
1. Work on my new book
2. Do more people paintings
3. Continue my 30 minute studies every day 
4. Lead a more balanced life!
This sketch is one I did in early December when I was at a Paint-in with 3 other friends in Wisconsin.  I just let myself sketch without a plan, and as I was sketching the people, I thought how odd that I had sketched 5 people, when there were only 4 of us there at the Paint-in.  Then, in studying it further, I saw that the 3 people were separated by a fence from the other 2 people.  Now, you might think I'm off my rocker when I tell you this, but the truth was that one friend who was supposed to be at our Paint-in, actually was traveling back and forth every day, visiting her husband in the hospital, and therefore, wasn't able to participate in our Paint-in very much.  I truly had nothing in mind when I started this sketch, and look what came out of my subconscious!  I'm thinking that the 2 houses in the background must be the fact that Janice was going from our house to the hospital every day.  Wow, spooky!!! My intention is to paint from this 30 minute sketch later this month.  I'll post it when it happens.  Happy New Year, everyone!


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