Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas
and best wishes
for a happy and prosperous
New Year.

Karen, Steve and Koda

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Green Wind

The full moon these past two nights has been spectacular. I can't remember when it's been so bright and illuminating. Friday night I played ball with Koda and Baxter under the moon's pearly gaze but the scenery was so distracting I stopped frequently to study it. The trees on our property were coated with ice from the recent storm and glistened like crystal. The pines drooped from the weight of it all and looked so graceful silhouetted against the sky. I tried to hold that image for future reference.
I enjoy drawing and painting trees..each specie has its own personality and character that can change dramatically with the seasons and weather conditions.
This is a pastel painting of an ancient apple tree in Kennebunk in summer. It's on the property of a fellow pastel painter who hosted a group plein air demonstration in which I participated. Two of the tree branches are so long and heavy the owners propped them up with beams to keep them from breaking. I thought that was a valiant effort to keep their beloved tree going.
The old apple was a challenge to paint as I didn't want to get caught up in detail...just wanted to capture the spirit of the tree gently blowing in a soft summer breeze laden with the humidity of the day....this was my third try.
I'll think more about the tree shapes and mysterious colors of the these recent moonlit nights and plan for a nocturnal painting of them in the future. The feeling will be quite different from this one and a great way to explore the colors and tone values of night.
Green Wind is still available...I wonder if the tree survived the ice storm..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First Snow

The weather pattern is a frequent subject of discussion now that we've accepted the fact that Global warming is changing things significantly. So far in Maine this season we've had snow, freezing rain, warm rain, sleet, and bright sunny warm days alternating with almost zero temps and near hurricane force winds. Quite a variety in such a short time..kinda makes me wonder what's next. It must be tough on the local wild animal population during this transition to winter...
Our dog Koda loves the cold snow and leaps through it like a gazelle. My horses used to love it too...Their turnout to winter pasture always involved a good roll and face rub in it. Invigorated by the icy baths they'd leap into the air on hind legs and finish with a spirited gallop down the fence line with tails a' flying. It was a morning ritual that was exciting to watch. I envied their robust spirits.
I never got photos of my horses doing that(what was I thinking?) but this painting was done from photos of a friend's pony enjoying the biting air and first layer of refreshing white stuff.
This image is a reminder of the playful side of animals during weather and temperature changes.
I thought of it while watching PBS TV footage last night of a Badger repeatedly sliding and tumbling down a snowy hill . Who knew they played too...?
This pastel painting is part of the permanent collection at Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum in North Yarmouth.
Koda should provide some great images for future winter paintings...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sea Smoke- Deer Isle

Winter is approaching quickly here in the north. Many places are covered with snow and our furnace is running steadily now. We dress in warm sweaters, fleece socks and the bed is piled high with blankets and a down comforter.
Our dog Koda revels in the brisk morning air and seems oblivious to the bitter chill we both feel sinking into our bones.
This pastel painting was done a few years ago and shows the sea smoke that forms over mud flats during a particularly cold morning down east in Deer Isle, which is about 135 miles from here. The photos used for this painting were taken by an artist friend who's lived there most of her life. Her lovely home sits on ocean front property that was part of the old family farm. She tells me she often rises early, sips her morning brew and enjoys a scene similar to this from the back deck.
This location is a few miles down the road from her place. I couldn't believe the photo when she sent it...the land formations looked primeval.... as if never touched by man.
I guess that's what inspired me to paint it. Now, with winter on the way I think of my friend getting up early to watch the sun rise, savoring the view of a magical place like this and waiting for a new day to begin.
This painting is available..if interested just inquire.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Break in the Storm-Van Buren

It's been a while since my last post..very busy times. With the election looming and a possible Christmas show on the horizon, of which I am the chairperson..time just flies.
This week is the opening of the annual Pastel Painters of Maine member juried show at River Tree Center for the Arts in Kennebunk. www.rivertreearts.org The opening reception is this Friday and I may actually be able to attend..! That would be nice..
PPoM is a large organization of over 160 members who are passionate about painting in pastels.
That's an impressive number considering that Maine is a small state and it's known as, "Wyeth Country", with water colors and tempera being the most popular paintings exhibited and sold.
For this show I chose a painting of a northern Maine community called Van Buren. It's a tiny rural town in Aroostook County that sits just this side of the Canadian border on the St. John River.
When we traveled through there a few years ago these funny little farm buildings hunkered into the ground caught my eye. Some of windows looked like eyes peering out towards the hill. Don't know what the buildings were originally used for..a dairy barn perhaps, but there were no cows in sight and the place was practically deserted. Farming has gone by the wayside and there are many places like this now...still the area is beautiful and very peaceful.
Check out the PPoM web site for other member works, events and workshops..We welcome members from all over! www.pastelpaintersofmaine.com

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hogs and Boars

This weekend Freeport Square Gallery is hosting a benefit show and sale for the Freeport Historical Society. This is to benefit preservation and perpetual care of the Pettengill Farm Conservation Trust. This farm is not related in any way to my husband's family..unfortunately for us... just a coincidence. I submitted several paintings and studies for the exhibit called "Barnyard Art" and this oil called "Hamlet", is one of them.
This land trust is a 160 acre parcel complete with the original 175 year old farmhouse in a setting straight from a Wyeth painting. The fields and woods around the property are open to the public and contain shoreline on a peaceful estuary only a short drive from Freeport's busy shopping district. Steve and I took a walk down the road to see the farm about a month ago which winds gently through the woods for about a mile before opening up into meadows dotted with ledge outcroppings. I followed hoof tracks all the way in and longed for the days when I had my horse to ride through there too. The road sweeps around to a view of the little white cape stoically facing the inlet. It felt as if we'd been transported to another time and place. What a beautiful location for a homestead.
Sorry to say though...we were shaken from our thoughts by swarms of hungry mosquitoes ..so after taking a few photos we hoofed it out of there and made a mental note to return when the little buggers aren't there.
The Historical Society has plans to rebuild the barn that once stood not far from the house and finish restoring the home interior to use as a museum.
The property will be included in a series of local landscape paintings that I've started.
With so much turmoil in our country and the world today I firmly believe these special places are more important than ever to help keep us sane....yes...hogs and boars indeed....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fertile Ground Exhibit

This year's exhibit at Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum is called "Fertile Ground" and includes Maine artists whose work is inspired by farm life and the rural landscape. The opening reception was a tremendous success with many sales that night.
"Going green" is the new catch phrase and more people have become (re)introduced to buying locally grown foods and products so this show should be of great interest.
Sculptor Pat Plourde of New Gloucester uses found metal objects and incorporates them into his exquisitely crafted work of flora, fauna and furniture. Mary Cupp finds inspiration in the people who make a living selling at the farmer's markets that have cropped up all over the state. Ann Stein paints old New England homesteads with surprising energy and character..her bold work breathes with life. Neil Wyrick's surreal landscapes are infused with subtle shadows and delicate color that just catches the magical light of evening and sundown. There are many other talented artists in the show as well. Here's the link to Skyline's on line catalog. www.skylinefarm.org . Check out the silent auction pages of items donated by the show's exhibitors and others who are passionate about preserving the farm's open spaces for the public to enjoy. These wild areas will become more precious to all of us as the world gets smaller and smaller...
I have the privilege of being co-curator for this show with my very special friend and accomplished artist Kathi Peters. Kathi specializes in equine and animal paintings and is included in a new book by Vicky Moon called Equestrian Style. Vicki is famous for her books about the rich and famous and this beautiful publication features international architecture, fashion, and homes inspired by the horse. Click here to view Kathi's very unique take on the horse. I particularly like her Shades of Black series. www.kathipeters.com

Here is one of my very first pastel portraits... seems like a life time ago that this was done....This is Kathi's Tennessee Walker gelding Duster who is 22 years old this year...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Portrait of a young Havanese

This is a recent commission portrait of a Havanese puppy named Guapo. A bunch of great photos of this little guy were sent to me and I chose this pose because of the energetic expression and sparkling eyes.
How could you not love a mug like this?..He's just a pup but my understanding is that he is socializing very well with other dogs and learning to be a gentleman in public. This breed is known for it's endearing personality and undying loyalty. They also are a good choice for allergy sufferers. I'm sure he'll be a joy to his owners for years to come.
This painting is 5 x 7 size, suitable for desk top display and done with acrylics. I used all edges of a large flat brush to complete most of the image and was able to get all of the detail except for the eyes, nose and mouth which were finished with a small liner brush.
I thoroughly enjoyed working on this and was disappointed when it was done.. looking at him made me smile!
I have another commission coming soon and can't wait to get started on that...it's a completely different subject.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Maine Discovery Museum "Save Me A Seat " Auction Bench

Well..it's been a while since the last blog but the bench for the MDM auction is finally DONE!
As promised ...here it is.
I chose a theme that appeals to a lot of people, Man's Best Friend, the family dog. We love our dog Koda, the Golden Retriever central in the portrait on the bench back. By her side is Baxter, our youngest son's treasured Jack Russell, and Mocha the Chocolate Lab, who passed away several years ago and belonged to a friend.
Under the seat lid is a little surprise...Addie the Welsh Corgi, who is a trusted and much loved companion to my very best friend and her husband.
I've used the art of Trompe l'eoil(fool the eye) to paint objects in three D on the seat lid and the frame around the portrait..the ball, dog biscuits and leash are all Koda's things. I added the pillow covered with paw prints to finish up the grouping with a touch of whimsy.
The bench is 65" high, 32"wide and 23" deep. Storage under the seat is suitable for hats, mittens, boots, or any canine paraphernalia..dog food if you wish!
The Trompe l'eoil is acrylic for durability and the over all finish is Behr latex enamel..two coats over primer for easy clean with soap and water.
Here is the link to the Auction....bids will close in November.. www.mainediscoverymuseum.org
I hope the winning bidder will enjoy this bench as much as I enjoyed doing it..
It's been a very busy month with deadlines all coming at once. My next blog will feature a new commission and the Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum show, "Fertile Ground", opens Sept. 12 so I must get to framing new paintings for that. More on that show in another blog...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Glimpse of MDM bench

The bench that will be donated to the Maine Discovery Museum Fall Auction in November is nearing completion and shown here is the base color of cornflower with an area taped off that now has a special image painted there. (it's a surprise..you'll have to catch the next post.)
This project has been really fun so far. The theme chosen for it is popular and should appeal to a lot of folks.
My son Eric did a great job of building the bench and I think the cheerful color will compliment most any entry hall. We may be on to something here...
Stayed tuned...the next blog will show the finished piece...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Change of Plans

A quick message for change of plans...My tent for the Freeport Creative Arts Sidewalk Festival will be located on the front lawn of Key Bank..two blocks north of L.L.Bean across from the Freeport Square Art Gallery.
Freeport was very busy today..lots of visitors.
Tomorrow night also features the free summer concert series sponsored by Beans...It starts at 7:30..Come, enjoy the sights and sounds of a great shopping district and superb restaurants.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pine Point Evening

I have to pinch myself when I realize what a beautiful state Maine is. Visitors from all parts of the globe come here every summer to enjoy the scenery that I live with every day. At times I must admit to taking this privilege for granted.
This painting is of the Scarborough River in Pine Point and the sandy coastline on the far side is called Ferry Beach. The beach is wall to wall people in summer but on the fall day that I took the photos for this the crowds were long gone. I loved the light of late afternoon and the three lobster boats lined up facing west. Scarborough River meanders inland through a protected conservation marsh that provides wetlands for thousands of creatures. Winslow Homer resided not far from here about a century ago and produced some of his most famous paintings inspired by the fishermen of his day.
This painting and others will be for sale during the Freeport Creative Arts First Annual Sidewalk Art Festival coming up on Saturday, August 2. My tent will be on the lawn of Harrington House, the Freeport Historical Society building, just two blocks south of L.L.Bean. Hope to see you there!
This is acrylic on 5 x 7 gallery wrapped canvas.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Moored Off Little Diamond

I decided to try a little summer marine painting using acrylic. This scene is from a cruise taken on my dad's boat several years ago. He loved the ocean and was a skilled sailor. Every year he took our entire family out on his Grand Banks trawler for a day on Casco Bay. The bay is renown for it's many islands and is a mecca for boaters of all kinds. We'd usually moor off an island and have a cookout on the beach or pull up to a dock in a small harbor for a meal of fresh local seafood. There's nothing like a day on the water with the salt air filling your lungs and unrelenting sun to increase one's appetite. It rejuvenated our senses and everything tasted so good. We all enjoyed watching the variety of boats that traveled the bay from lovingly restored antique beauties to brand new power boats, sleek and built for speed.
These two were quietly moored off Little Diamond Island, a favorite and well known spot for the locals. The water was dead calm in this protected cove and I liked the reflections of the masts and lines on the gently rippled water.
This is 5 x7 .

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Well now.... As I mentioned in a recent blog I was waiting to see which painting had been chosen for an upcoming show. This is the one Bruce Brown picked out of the three I submitted for the Freeport Creative Arts show now on exhibit. Mr. Brown is the former director for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Maine and he graciously agreed to help us out with our first group exhibition. Many thanks to him. The show runs through July 27 at the Freeport Square Gallery and is quite impressive. There is a wide variety of painting styles and genre along with some very fine crafts, sculptures and photographs....46 pieces in all and everything is for sale.
Please stop by if you're in the area shopping and help support local artists. The gallery is just two blocks north of L.L. Bean on Main Street and is open 7 days a week.
This is pastel and titled "Evans Notch-Gilead"...wish I could've been a fly on the wall....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pastel Painters of Maine Show

I just received word that this painting, 'Midnight Auto' won the Jack Richeson award at this year's PPoM International Juried Show at the Chocolate Church in Bath, Maine. It also sold today..That's
all really good news..

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Art Scene-Freeport Square Gallery

The summer art scene in Maine is very exciting and July is a busy time. My work will be in two shows that open within the next 12 days. The painting 'Midnight Auto' was accepted into the Pastel Painters of Maine 9th International Show at the Chocolate Church, 798 Washington Street in Bath, and the second is an exciting show curated by Bruce Brown of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art out of Rockport. Mr. Brown will be choosing one piece of artwork out of three submitted by each member of the newly formed Freeport(Maine)Creative Arts Initiative. This fledgling organization was started less than a year ago and has expanded to a whopping membership of over 80. FCA is an energetic and eclectic mix of local artists who are painters, sculptors, photographers, potters, musicians and writers. Obviously not all will be in this show but it will be very interesting to see which pieces submitted end up in the exhibit. I'm curious about which of mine was chosen.
Freeport Square Gallery, 140 Main St, Freeport is Maine's newest and largest gallery in the state with over 6,000 square feet of exhibit space in the former Copeland Furniture building. Kathleen Meade, the founding member and chair of FCA, along with five other members have partnered with art minded businesses to start this exciting private venture. The FCA show will have the first shot in the new gallery and opens July 13 with an artist reception and runs through 27th. Given the FCA activity and the new gallery in town Freeport is sure to make it's mark on the Maine art scene. As an artist who's lived in this area for over 30 years all I can say is it's about time!
The PPoM show in Bath opens with an artist reception on July 10 at 4 p.m. followed by a painting demo with Signature PSA member Doug Dawson who will present the awards. Dawson's work is atmospheric with a specialty in nocturnals(my favorite). He will conduct a plein aire workshop in Wiscasset the following weekend.
All work in both shows is for sale.
For more info
This is a pencil study of a Childe Hassam summery painting...appropriate I think.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Painted Chair

Well here it is...! In an earlier blog about the Maine Discovery Museum http://www.mainediscoverymuseum.org/ located in Bangor, Maine, I mentioned an invitation to participate in their November auction fund raiser called "Save A Seat". Maine artists were invited to paint a chair of their choice which is to be donated and will go to the highest bidder.
I enlisted the help of my talented carpenter son Eric who built this little beauty.
We collaborated on the design and agreed that this style would be useful and comfortable too. There is a storage area under the seat lid which is attached with a brass piano hinge. I love it already!
I have my theme idea ready to go( I'm not telling you what it is) and will start by priming the entire piece...then the fun begins. I'll post photos to show the progress until it's completed...stay tuned..

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tryon's Field

Don't know why.... but roads and trails seem to be popping up in my paintings more often.
This pastel of a nearby scene in autumn was just completed and may go into an upcoming show. While horseback riding through this field one fall I came upon an old trail that wanders through the property. The long grasses, thick and blown down by the wind fascinated me. The low sun glanced across the landscape..it was such a peaceful scene. The air was crisp and filled with the familiar scent of wood smoke. I raced home, put my horse in, then raced back with camera in hand to take shots before the sun disappeared.
The old barn in the upper corner is no longer there...it seems so long ago. Times are changing with more people slowly moving into our quiet community. I'm glad I was able to experience the country like this.
The size is 8 x 17.5 on colourfix prepared paper and for sale...please inquire if interested.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Speaking of Dogs

Dogs touch us in so many ways. They provide comfort and friendship and become cherished members of the family. Since dogs are social creatures surely they see us as part of their pack. Misha, the aged Golden Retriever who is the subject of this pastel painting, was with us for 14 years and was greatly loved by our family. During her last year I decided to do this portrait of her which was influenced by A. Wyeth's painting called, "Christina's World". Misha had a morning routine in which she took a skinny dip in our farm pond then enjoyed rolling and laying in the cool grass. I've been kidded about this painting and it's been dubbed "Christina's Dog". Pastel on terra cotta colourfix..not for sale.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Just in from an energetic ball session with our young golden retriever Koda. She has WAY more energy than I can handle! Our play time made me think of all the dogs that have come into our lives. We've had many dogs over the years and so have our friends. All were or still are beloved companions and confidants to their owners.
This a small painting of just such a companion. He belongs to our long time friends and his name is Freddy. I painted this after he stayed with us for a short time while his owners went on a short vacation.(Apparently we are the designated dog sitter in this part of the state) He moped for a bit then eventually warmed up to us and became very playful. Still, he must have wondered where his mom and dad were...this quizzical look said it all..

Saturday, May 17, 2008


There's nothing like the taste of a handful of freshly picked Maine blueberries! They grow wild everywhere around here and although they may be small, the flavor is more intense than any cultivated variety. It's much too early for the berries..the blossoms haven't opened yet but I imagine savoring them with my morning cereal in the middle of summer ...Oh.. and superb in a homemade cake recipe served with fresh whipped cream...yum..
I obtained permission to use the photo taken by famous photographer Saxon Holt, who's exquisite closeup of the little blue gems appears in, "The Garden Design Book", by Cheryl Merser.
Blueberries was a pivotal pastel painting because it was my first to be accepted into a national show... and I discovered how a toned background added depth and richness to my work. In this case the support is canvas board that I covered with orange acrylic paint. It was just the right color but very slippery, so I sprayed fixative between layers as the painting progressed. It took approximately two weeks to complete(my husband made me stop) and won the Merit Award in the Pastel Painters of Maine 3rd Annual National Show in Kennebunk six years ago. The size is 16 x20...Not bad for my first show!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Lots of projects going on at the moment so I thought it would be interesting to show a favorite painting that was finished a few years ago. This is a mixed medium with pastel over a watercolor underpainting. I came across a heavyweight paper from Khadi, India, in a local art supply store that was used here. It's 100% cotton rag and wonderful to work with because it's practically indestructible and has a lightly textured surface that holds pastel. Experimenting can yield unexpected results like this painting. The green horse was washed in with watercolor glazes, and the background and other horses were drawn in charcoal and pastel. Multiple pastel layers build up the verdigris texture while leaving some of the watercolor showing through. The oxidized patinas of ancient copper and bronze sculptures inspired the aged finish for the main horse.
To a large degree this is a self portrait...the layers of crusty old patina are the metaphor for the layers that build up my life. In this I see myself surrounded by the people and events that have been influential in so many ways. The size is 16 x20...

Friday, May 2, 2008


We just finished redesigning my web site with a clean look and some new work added. A Scratchboard category has been added as well. It's a medium that is really interesting because of the wood block print effects that can be achieved and I plan to explore that in the future....maybe larger scale works with some abstract qualities. I'm excited about it..!
On the show front, "Midnight Auto" has been accepted into the Pastel Painters of Maine 9th International Juried Exhibition which will be held at the popular midcoast gallery, The Chocolate Church in Bath, Maine. I'm honored that my painting is one of 55 selected out of approximately 300 submitted by pastel artists from Maine and across the country.
I've also been invited to participate in Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum's 3rd Annual Exhibition called , "Fertile Ground". This show pulls together sculptors, photographers and painters living in Maine who are inspired by Maine's landscape and open lands. It should be a great show with broad appeal. Please check my Artist page for dates and times..There will be more info here about the shows as they draw near.
I also have paintings for sale at Olivia & Company, 4 School Street, in Freeport and my fine art note cards are also sold through Edgecomb Potters three galleries, on Rt 27 in Edgecomb, 8 School Street in Freeport, and Exchange Street in Portland's famous Old Port shopping district.
This is an oil study of a nearby field in Autumn. The textures of the dried grasses and the dark sky indicating a storm on the way really help to convey the season. I sold this study but will do a larger version.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

All the Pretty Ribbons

I was looking through my studio at past works..some finished..some not, and came upon this unfinished pastel painting of a friend's Standardbred mare. Katie was acquired as a two year old filly to be trained, not to race, but as a pleasure driving horse. Many people don't realize that Standardbreds can make very good pleasure horses. This little lady was full of spit and vinegar and very forward moving (fast, that is). Katie was a challenge to her owner..several mishaps..some serious and some not, but she became a strong competitor in the regional pleasure driving shows. It was determined a while ago that she'd fractured her pelvis in an accident and never quite recovered. Last year her owner made the decision to put her down and she was buried on the farm. This was done from one of the last photos I took of her, quietly standing in the barn after a schooling session in the ring, waiting for her reward... to be turned out to pasture with her buddies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barn for Lily

This is a commission painting that was executed in pastel a few years ago for a client who owns this beautiful barn in Kennebunkport. The building is located on the old estate, "Rocky Pastures", once owned by the famous Maine author, Kenneth Roberts. The property has been subdivided into a few very choice lots and this one came with a 60 foot barn. The original home of Mr. Roberts which is for sale, isn't far from here and is constructed of stone.
My client wanted to surprise her husband with the painting at Christmas and requested that their beloved German Shepherd 'Lily', be included in the image. Kennebunkport is the current summer home of another famous individual..George Bush Sr., who owns a retreat on Walker's Point.
Lily enjoys scouting the property which slopes down to a lush open meadow. Salty ocean breezes sweep through the air...
What a lucky dog.....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Evans Notch-Gilead, Maine

In my previous blog I showed you the beginning of this painting with the initial shapes sketched in over a bright pink toned ground. After a few trials and tribulations this is the finished piece.
While painting this scene and as and more of the image details emerged I was reminded of our trip to this peaceful spot in western Maine. The quiet winding road, which is Route 113 if you're ever in the area, runs through Evans Notch in the foothills of White Mountain National Park. There are hiking trails on both sides of the road and places to stop and enjoy the woods, gurgling streams and panoramic views waiting at the top of Royce and other mountains. The sun was bright and warm on that day and the cool shade provided by the tree canopy brought welcome relief after our strenuous hike. It took us about an hour and half to reach the summit of Royce but the reward was well worth the effort.
This is pastel on panelli telati which is 18 x 24. It's also available..We will try to add my new work to my website soon...where does time go...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Evans Notch -White Mountain National Forest

This is a new work in progress that was started today. The location is old Route 113 in Gilead, Maine, which runs through an area called Evans Notch in the scenic White Mountain National Forest. Steve and I love this area and have hiked up Royce Mountain located off the road to the right and out of frame. The view from the top is breathtaking but it's a long steep climb. This section of road is so peaceful and quiet...far from the madding crowd. For this painting I decided to do something a little different so I painted a 18 x 24 panelli telati support(Italian made canvas covered board that's been gessoed) with a pink pastel alcohol wash. I've painted in the trees and shadows on the road with colors ranging from black, dark blue, teal green, forest green, olive green, pale sage green and a warm dark brown. So far the pink underpainting remains as the light source throughout.
It's an unusual color combo for me but I'll keep you posted on the progress and show you the finished painting..
By the way..most of my new work hasn't been added to my website yet..not enough time but they're all for sale...please inquire.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hanna's of Pemaquid

Pemaquid is another picturesque village along the Maine coast and this little convenience store with gas pump is the social hub for residents. While driving through there last fall we recognized the truck as a '48 Ford..because we used to have one! We fell in love with it when we tried it out and bought it without thinking about it's practicality I guess. We used it all the time to pick up materials for our antique farm remodeling projects, errands.. or just for a country drive. It wasn't easy cramming our three young boys and dog in there with us but we did and had great fun. It still had the original engine..a flat head 8( don't ask me what that is but it sounds cool) and had to be double clutched to shift gears..no power steering in that baby either. She was rough and tumble...
It was a sad day when the old girl finally quit for good. She was eventually rebuilt by a neighbor and sold...what a great truck.
This is pastel on acid free foamcore primed with Colourfix terra cotta..approximately 8"x8"..for sale too..

Friday, April 4, 2008

Autumn Road

OK..I think my fascination with scratchboard has been temporarily satisfied. So ..time for glorious color and pastels.
I just had to paint something with green in it..We still have three foot high snow banks in this part of the country and this image filled the bill. It's a scene just up the road from our house and the field on the left, which is mostly out of frame, is about 20 acres and lush green during summer and early fall. The property owners take great care by fertilizing it yearly so their farm animals will have nutritious hay to munch on through the winter. Sometimes in the evenings small herds of deer graze peacefully on the rich grasses and alfalfa. We take frequent walks in this direction and I love watching the evening sun spread it's golden fingers over the field and across the road.
This is pastel on gallery wrap canvas prepared with Colourfix terra cotta primer...11 x 14 and it's for sale..just inquire if interested .
Come on SPRING.....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Highlander

This may look like a giant pile of hay with handlebars but it's actually a breed of steer called the Scottish Highlander. They come from the remote and scarcely vegetated areas of Scotland, are very economical to raise because they don't need much to eat, and can withstand severe weather conditions. They also provide very tasty meat making them a prime candidate for beef production. I just happened to bring our camera while doing errands in the next town over and was able to get a rare photo opportunity. ...You don't see animals like these very often. This dun colored steer is part of a small herd that usually grazes in a pasture far from view but they were right next to the road on that day . I have close ups of them facing me and good head shots which will be used for future drawings and paintings. It was hard to tell where the hay he was laying on left off and the steer's body started! Despite the cold, damp weather he looked quite comfy...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Are We Done Yet?

That's a very good question being posed here by my neighbor's well schooled driving horse 'Champagne' . I took some great photos a while back during a schooling session and this one stood out as a favorite. The owner is a dedicated horsewoman who rides and drives year round and also competes in national driving competitions, placing high in many. It takes hard work and just plain guts to drive a horse..The only means of communication between horse and driver(whip), are two long thin leather reins. Maneuvering a half ton or more of fire breathing animal through a very tight cone course at break neck speed is quite a sight to watch. Patsy's horse performed beautifully this day and while she and I chatted after the workout Champagne turned her head back looking directly at us behind her blinders and asked..."Are we done yet?
This scratchboard journey is taking me somewhere..not sure where, but I'm not done yet....

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lanterns in the Window

I've had a photo of this lovely vignette for quite some time and wondered what to do with it. It was provided by an artist friend and this is one of her collections on a windowsill. Something different was called for here so I decided to try a little experiment with my new favorite sketching medium, scratchboard. In the photo which was taken in the fall, the trees and foliage are filled with autumn color and blowing in the breeze. The lanterns and bottles pressed against the window seemed to be beckoned to move with the activity outside. I let my hand go....
Many people have told me my work is anthropomorphic....this may be a more blatant example..

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Addie-Me and My Shadow

We've had the pleasure of dog sitting for this little Welsh Corgi named Addie a few times now. She may not see it as dog sitting though. She thinks it's her job to take care of us..and acts like the custodian of everything really. It comes from her powerful herding instincts and sense of order.. ..If things aren't done properly she will not approve ..and then she will give you "The look".
Kidding aside(who's kidding) Addie is a sweet and affectionate dog and a wonderful companion to her owners. If she takes a liking to you she will wrap her little front legs around your neck for a big hug.
She was visiting us when I took the photos used for this drawing. I loved the morning light coming through my kitchen window and the shadow that it cast of her on the floor. Addie always wears a striking bandanna when she travels..tres chic..
This is a 5 1/2 x 8 scratchboard.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

March- Hyde's Barn

It's been said many times..March comes in like a lion---I beg to differ... more like a vicious gang of hungry polar bears this year! Ah..but today was more like March with bright sun and gusty winds. The energy of the weather change influenced the feeling in this new scratchboard drawing that was completed this afternoon.
This big old barn is a half mile from my house and is very imposing up on a knoll facing the road. It's much longer and taller than I've depicted it here ....enormous in fact, but I changed it to suit the composition and focus more on the cupola. It's that part of the building that really interests me. It reminds me of an owl..the weathered shingles look like feathers and the missing shutter looks like one eye slightly open watching...strange but that's what I see.
I've painted a few studies of this barn and yet there is still more to say..

Feed Blitz which is my blog server has had some technical problems which they claim to have resolved. A few recent blogs haven't been sent out... so scroll down to see them..

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Light and Shadow

As promised two blogs ago, here is an older drawing on scratchboard. I drew this portrait about ten years ago and the subject of this was my beloved Tennessee Walker mare, "Shylock's Regal Queen".
I knick named her "Reggie" and she was a royal gem...spirited and exciting on the trail, eager to go somewhere..anywhere!..but gentle and very safe to work around. We had eleven years together riding the many miles of quiet roads and woods trails that criss cross our rural community. I learned so much about myself during those special times....
The light play on her face as she stood patiently on cross ties in the barn really got me here. Who knows what she thinking then..a soft faraway look in her eyes. Her left eye was partially blue which was a little disconcerting at first, but her kind spirit shown through. Queen indeed...

Tying Up

This drawing is of my friend's husband Billy O'Reilly, a Cliff Island resident who makes his living as a lobsterman. In an earlier blog about a pastel painting of him called "Chop" I talk about Billy and his life on the sea. I love this image of him and wanted to explore the different textures of the dock, his work clothes, and the rope. I used only one exacto knife and it amazes me that a simple medium such as scratchboard can say so much. All the textures came about by turning the knife at different angles sometimes making straight clean lines, other times by pulling the blade broadside and scumbling across the surface.
This is 11 x 7 and available for purchase.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Portland's West End on scratchboard

I haven't worked in black and white for quite some time and decided to pull out some scratchboard. The winter weather pattern has been merciless this year in the northeast and we are buried in mountains of the white stuff...with more on the way. The colorless scenery and a few other things have inspired me. Scratchboard is a heavy vellum paper coated with a clay/ink surface which can then be removed using various techniques and tools.You essentially work backward. The resulting images can sometimes look much like woodcut and lino block prints.
This drawing is 8 x 11 and was done freehand by using an ink pen nib and exacto knife. Usually a drawing on tracing paper with graphite on the back is placed over the top and transferred to the board. Curved lines are the most difficult to master with knives and nibs... but this medium really intrigues me...so I'm going to start another and there are older drawings that will be posted as well..

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Save Me A Seat

I'm thrilled to be included in a fund raising art auction for the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, Maine. The MDM is the largest children's museum north of Boston and offers a wide range of programs for students and teachers statewide. The museum is a valuable resource that supports teachers with active hands on experiences for their students, encouraging creativity and exploration.
For this year's event called "Save me a Seat", they have chosen the chair as the "canvas" for artistic expression. Each artist is asked to transform a chair of their choice(or one will be provided by the museum) into a work of art going to the highest bidder at the fall '08 auction in November. All proceeds go to scholarship admissions and the museum's operating costs.
There are so many possibilities for chairs and my mind has been conjuring up all kinds of ideas for such an interesting project...I'll keep you posted once the chair has been chosen..
This painting is done in casein and available for purchase...was this image a harbinger of things to come ..?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Portland's West End Neighborhood

This winter scene is one of Portland's(Maine that is)West End neighborhood where quaint streets are lined with the oldest buildings in the city. Seen here are a few brick Federal and Greek revival styles mixed in with later 19th century homes. I love this area which has had a resurgence in popularity among the city's young hip professionals who are moving in and bringing the buildings back to their glory. This street is just off of Danforth.
I painted this with casein paints on a gallery wrap canvas. Gallery wrap is interesting to work with because when all edges are painted(thank you Maggie) the work can be hung without a frame.
I scared myself initially when the alizaron crimson and purple for the brick buildings went on but there are so many gray hues elsewhere it works.
Everything except the snow in this is very linear...the windows, doors, roof lines and fences.....This painting was really fun to do..
There will be more paintings of Portland coming soon..

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Cob in Winter

Several years ago I decided to get out of horse ownership. It wasn't an easy decision but it was the right one for me. Regardless....I'll always love horses and cherish my memories of the great experiences we had together. Unfortunately there are few photos of my horses that are suitable for reference in my art work( we didn't have a digital camera then)...so, I rely on my horsey friends to get good shots of their wonderful equine companions to paint.
The photo of this Welsh Cob mare reminds me so much of the winters here with my own mares. Their coats became thick and woolly in preparation for our notoriously long cold season in Maine. The luxurious fur fluffed out on especially cold days and it was such a treat to bury my face in their soft warm necks...in my mind I can still smell the hay and fresh clean scent of them...
This is a 10x12 pastel on terra cotta Colourfix paper(what else!)..Available for purchase as well..

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fill 'er Up

As promised here's the finished painting that was started in the previous blog. I enjoyed pulling this one together. Sometimes these images almost paint themselves....as soon as the first dark shapes are put down I can see the rest of it right in front of me..
This is pastel on 8 x 10 on dark blue Colourfix paper and is available for purchase.

Esso Station-Aroostook County

When my husband and I were kids our dads were both traveling salesmen. Our families weren't acquainted then but we have our fathers' work in common. Both men had big territories to cover that included all of northern New England.
They each spent a lot of time driving the long lonely roads of Maine selling their products and would leave early on Monday mornings of every week, sometimes not returning home until Friday.
As Steve and I traveled through Aroostook we talked about what that kind of life on the road might have been like for them. We even toyed with idea that our dads may have crossed paths not once but perhaps several times during their careers. When we came upon this old gas station somewhere in "The County" as it's known here, with the antique cars parked in the yard we just had to stop for some photos. So many years ago our dads must have stopped here many times to refuel, grab a pack of cigarettes or just to stretch their legs before heading to the next customer. It was the only place for miles......My dad even drove a car like the one on the right.
I decided to show the stages of this painting but..... the finished one will be on my next blog...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Velvet Night

In an earlier blog about my painting called, "Whispers in the Moonlight", I mentioned that nocturnal paintings have always fascinated me, so I added another book to my growing collection of books on artists called ,"The Color of Night". It's about Frederic Remington and contains 75 of his most well known nocturnal paintings of the American west. After many years of experimentation and constant study Remington became a master technician of the American wild west genre but especially paintings of the night. In the books foreword Earl Powell III of the National Gallery of Art explains why night paintings draw such interest, "...nocturnes thus reflect both the external beauty of night and the internal threat of darkness".
This is a 10 x 12 pastel painting executed on dark blue Colourfix paper. Kathi Peters, my good friend and fellow artist provided the photo of her Welsh Cob mare, Victoria, with her first colt, Legacy. The background scenery and barn don't exist in the photo....I made them up.
"Cut down and out...do your hardest work outside the picture and let your audience take away something to think about..to imagine." Frederic Remington 1903.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dawn Breaks Over Danforth

This new painting is from an Autumn road trip taken through Washington and Aroostook counties in northern Maine a couple of years ago. We traveled up the coast on Route 1 then left the last eastern US coastal town of Calais and continued inland to the remote village of Danforth. It's well known for the superb fishing and hunting on nearby East Grand Lake which separates Maine from New Brunswick, Canada. We spent a snowy winter weekend in a friends lakeside camp there many years ago. At that time the road to the camp wasn't plowed in winter so we walked three miles from the main road through knee deep snow to get there. It was worth the effort but in the morning we discovered that coyotes had tracked us in! We'd heard them howling all during our trek under a full moon ...a beautiful but eerie experience.
This abandoned barn high up on an exposed ridge north of town offered great views of the lake and Canada beyond. I worked from a photo (originally taken at noon with overhead sun) to get placement of the features and then let my imagination take over for the morning sky and light. This is my second painting of this memorable region.... but not my last I think....