Friday, July 31, 2009


sitting outside at a favorite restaurant on a gorgeous summer afternoon with my lovely daughter and her goofy dog. What could be better ?

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I spent the last three days being immersed in loads of inspiring art in NYC. I went specifically to see a show at the Society of Illustrators gallery called "Life After Black: The Visual Journals of Barron Storey". He is an illustrator, graphic novelist and teacher who has kept visual journals for years and this show included more that 100 of his journals. They were amazing, beautiful, inspiring, honest, intimidating all at the same time. They were displayed on shelves so that you were free to sit and read, examine, touch them. I was inspired by his incredible artistic talent and creativity, but also by his courage in sharing the books in such a public way. The journals were full of written passages about his life, his work, his struggles--both creatively and personally. It was an intimate look into an artist's life.

I'm posting a couple pages from Journal number 45, called "Lear".

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I finished my first portrait of someone else in the moleskine portrait exchange. (you can check out what other people in the group are doing here). Her name is Carolyn. I like the way the piece looks as a painting, but I'm not sure how much it looks like her. We work from photos and without knowing them its hard to judge whether you have captured the "real" person. I hope she likes it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

ten minute collage

I read about an artist who does a ten minute collage each day--she recommends it as almost a meditation process. She finds images and words in magazines or newspapers that catch her attention or appeal to her in some way (I like the newspaper--newsprint makes great collage paper) and creates a collage. She recommends--and the ten minute time period necessitates--that you don't think too hard or overwork. Shut off the left brain and let the right brain have a little fun. I've been trying to do one occasionally and it is fun--and interesting to see what emerges.

Friday, July 24, 2009

contour drawing

Contour drawing is done by following the outline of the subject, ideally without looking at the paper, only at the subject being drawn. Its a good exercise in really seeing what you are drawing and not just drawing what your brain believes a flower (or face or whatever) looks like. To really push the old right brain to its limits I did this with my left (non-dominant) hand.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


On her blog, Roz Wound Up, Roz occasionally writes about journaling myths. Recently, I was listening to someone talk about a painting they did in their journal that took two hours and it made me realize that I have my own journal myth, or preconception--that work in a journal should be done quickly, or be a sketch, not "real" work. While often the journal can be used for quick studies or sketches done on the fly, there is no reason it shouldn't also get full attention when time allows. So, last night I did some "myth-busting" and spent more time than usual (but not two hours!) on a watercolor of some peaches.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


another Tuesday at the farmer's market, another opportunity to shop for good things to eat-- and paint. Luckily, in this case they serve both purposes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

journal as tool

tonight's meeting of the journal collective is about using journal entries as inspiration for other art works. I used a pencil sketch of my friend Ginny in her red jacket as the starting point for a semi-abstract collage/painting. I liked the relaxed pose and the challenge of working with the large, red focal point.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

after the wedding

my son works as a server at a country club, so summer Saturday's usually involve a wedding. I'm generally asleep long before he gets home from those events. This morning I walked into the kitchen to find this lovely yellow calla lily in a glass on the counter. My own little wedding favor.

Friday, July 17, 2009


garlic mustard, buckthorn, zebra mussels...just a few of the invasive species currently causing trouble for the DNR and the rest of us around here. "Invasive species" sounds so harsh, but these lacy purple heart leaves from some garlic mustard don't seem all that threatening. Just another case of an unfortunate plant (or animal) that wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I admit it--I'm a total sucker for packaging. More than once, ( in fact most of the time) I pick wine because of the label. And when I went to buy cream today how could I resist this wonderful, fat little glass bottle sitting next to all the wax paper cartons? In my defense, the cream made the most incredible tasting, golden yellow butter. (can't say that I've always had the same luck with the wine!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This past Saturday I was at the Mill City Farmer's market in Minneapolis and took a moment to do a quick sketch of the Guthrie Theater. It has taken me this long to get around to adding some color. The issue was getting the blue building with yellow accents without evoking "Ikea"!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I spent a lovely evening on the porch at my sister's farmhouse in southern Wisconson. We watched the deer come out at dusk to find dinner and listened to a very happy pack of coyotes whooping it up just after dark. I tried to capture the wooded hill across the road when the shadows were getting long and dramatic--I was using a brush tip pen that I just got. I'm not happy with the values--I only seemed to be able to get one value-DARK- with the pen. I guess some practice is in order.

Monday, July 13, 2009


My current favorite cartoon is called Cul-de-sac, starring a pre-schooler named Alice and her friends and family (including neurotic, nervous brother Petey who is convinced his best friend is imaginary). I love the randomness of the conversations (have you ever listened to pre-schoolers?) and the style of drawing. Not by plan, but coincidence I have found a panel or two from the strip that fits my mood and sets the tone just as I'm starting a new journal. Here are the inside covers of the last three. The most recent one (too late, here we go) really spoke to my need to be a little "braver", take some risks, jump in feet first.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I decided to write an illustrated letter to my dad, but didn't quite trust myself to do the writing and painting simultaneously(maybe with practice). So, here are the illustrations and now I'll try to make the words fit.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


In the movie "Michael", Andie McDowell's character sings an entire song devoted to fact that she loves pie. Me too! Love to bake them, love to eat them. This isn't art in the usual sense of the word, but it is definitely a creative effort. So, here is today's "artwork", a blueberry, blackberry, peach pie.

Friday, July 10, 2009


this is post number 100! Not one of life's major milestones, but deserving of recognition in my little blogoshere. So, here are 100 little "fingerprint" pictures to celebrate.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

dinner plans

a very fast sketch done while trying to figure out what these yams can become for dinner. Sharing a car for the summer is forcing me to use my innovation-in-the-kitchen skills rather than my last-minute-dash-to-the-store skills!

P.S. they turned into roasted yams and peppers with cilantro pesto, served with creamy polenta with cumin butter. Man, I'm good!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


one of my purchases at the farmer's market yesterday was a bouquet of lilies and a few other flowers. I intended to use the colored pencils to do a quick sketch to collage over but got carried away. Its interesting that certain pages that I scan in to post look better in scanned form, but this one definitely is better in person.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

farmer's market

the first ever Minnetonka Farmer's Market was this afternoon and I biked over to check it out. It was great--I came home with my backpack full of strawberries, green beans, cilantro, green onions, honey, and topped off by a bouquet of beautiful lilies.

Monday, July 6, 2009

strangers faces

I'm still working on faces--just picking faces out of magazines or the paper to practice on. The upside is that I can take liberties and play around more, because I don't care if it really looks like the person in a portraiture sense. On the other hand, that is also the drawback because it doesn't force me to get the details right. I guess there is a place for both types of work.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

trial and error

I did some "face painting" today--just experimenting and practicing faces. And in the spirit of trying out new things, I used my new camera to post the pictures. Old dog, not-so-new tricks.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th

Its been a quiet day here in Lake Wobegon (today is the 35th Anniversary of a Prairie Home Companion)--and I didn't do much except a little cooking. It was strictly by accident, but I did end up with a patriotic menu. Red salsa (with white corn chips) and blueberry crumble bars. mmmmm, happy 4th.

Friday, July 3, 2009


it occured to me when posting sketches from my trip that I seldom pay the same kind of attention in "my own backyard". So this morning I sat in the lovely lakeside town of Wayzata and sketched the main street, ready for the 4th with flags flying.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Montreal, wandering and taking in the sights. Completely by accident, we were there for the opening day of the International Jazz festival and saw a Wynton Marsalis concert, and heard (from a couple blocks away!) Stevie Wonder doing the opening night outdoor concert. I loved the international feel of the city--you could hear 6 different languages being spoken in as many minutes!