Monday, December 21, 2015

Owl see what I see.

When I make abstracts it goes a little something like this: 

I take a picture of our Christmas tree close up (actually, I had the peacock take my picture because he takes better shots than I do) and then I turn the picture upside down.
Then I paint that. 

This is obviously a close up of our pink owl ornament.....

Too Close Owl (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

Either that, or it could be tits. 
We all interpret art in our own way. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

An American in Paris

They say Paris is the city of Love...........

Well, the day we went to the Eiffel Tower for the first time, our family was not in love with each other. We were at each other's throats.
It was hot.
We were all hungry.
It was hot. There were crowds and the crowds were massive....I hate, hate, hate crowds. Especially when it's hot.
The 8 year old was upset that the tour bus was not an open top, but just a regular bus (Hell, I didn't know this when I booked the tour).
The goldfish wanted to roam free without restriction and didn't want to ride in the carrier (crowds don't seem to deter her in any way of what she plans to be doing).
The peacock was mad at all of us for whining and being so dysfunctional. (The following day he discovered the word "Hangry" while over hearing this group of ladies gossiping at the park....and then the day all made sense to him, but I digress)
IT WAS HOT!!!!!!

Thank God for the amazingly engineered fountain (this was all the peacock could talk about for days afterward) across the way from the Eiffel tower (Way to go Paris!) and the crepe cart.
And Thank God for the Eiffel tower at night (when it's not hot)
I'm in Love.

Night walk in Paris (2015)
Acrylic on Clayboard with 2 inch profile sides

Let's put the children on the next open top bus tour with some crepes and book it back to the hotel. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

What's on your shelf

I must admit I painted this, and I'm at a loss for words with how to speak to it. I feel it speaks for itself. 

Here's the background story of why I painted this portrait. 
It began as a challenge from the peacock. 
He texted me this crazy picture of Trump and said
"I know it's not pretty, but I think you should paint this. It's just so crazy." 

So, I gave it a try. 

And it worked out, so I decided that the most fitting attire for Donald Trump by far would be an Elf on the Shelf suit. We call our's 

"Ass on a Shelf." (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 16x8

Every night he reports to himself and informs of who should be deported and who's fired. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

International Trade Agreements

I grew up in a very small town and a wee bit redneck. This is by no means negative, but Jeff Foxworthy jokes make sense to me; either from personal experience or knowing someone with that experience. I find these jokes quite funny.
Well, I got a new one for Mr. Foxworthy.
A true story.
Gunnison is often the coldest spot in the nation and requires for most of us, a wood burning stove.
Well, a wood burning stove requires wood.....lots of it, (winter is really long and really frickin cold). So, every year we would head up into the mountains and gather wood in our old red 1970's International. Let me just say, this truck was a piece, but it mediocrely did it's job every year......very slowly, slowly, slowly, like a sloth. A slow, red, old, 8 track playing sloth, driving at 15mph up into the mountains, getting passed by winter turtles and 90 year old grannies doing cartwheels in snowshoes. (If you think this truck sounds might be a hipster). 

To further paint the utter joy of the wood gathering ceremony, gathering wood is a lot of painful, time consuming work. (You'll definitely need to bring your Cooler along to keep mentally sane). It involves an entire day in the mountains cutting, hauling and stacking wood. You might think, Oh that sounds so nice to be in the mountains all day. NO, you're wrong. You get muddy, angry, sweaty, pissed off, sore, with splinters in your face and sometimes a black eye. This experience is why I don't do Crossfit. In fact, Crossfit should just go get my Dad's wood every year and then stack it up for him for the next 3 days.

Anyways, one year, The International just had enough work and it just refused to go. It wanted to kick back in the garage, hang out with the dead elk heads (let's get real, who doesn't)  But, well, we still needed wood for the winter.
Therefore, my Dad decided it was time.

Wood Haul (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x12

If you trade your truck for a winter's load of wood.....
You might be a redneck."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Going all natural

When my parents come to visit us over here in the city, my Dad ALWAYS makes sure to bring his little cooler full of beer. Now, you'd think that he was packing this amazing microbrew only found in the remotest area of the Colorado mountains, but in fact he packs....wait for

.......Natural Light. 

Yep, he brings his cooler of Natty light to our the city.....with 2 liquor stores within a block & 3 breweries in walking distance. Because Lord knows the kids have beer Armageddon going on in their fridge with their "Modus Hoperandi" & their "Rogue dead guy", not to mention their "Fat tire" & Hazed & Infused". 

This behavior is what I like to call: the Doomsday Prepper, Redneck style. It's what happens to my Dad when he visits us in the city. He must be totally prepared, armed with his Natural Light, protected in his own cooler from the likes of "Sweaty Betty Blond" (Dad it's a wheat beer) & "Wooly Booger Nut Brown Ale (I really really want to see his face when he reads the label)

Dad's Cooler (2015)
Acrylic on panel board 5x7

The city is a scary place, so just kick back, relax, & just watch all the sweaty, hazed & infused dead guys go rouge on their critical mass fat tires chasing Betties from your high rise balcony with your cooler of Natural light. 

Ahhhhhhhhhh, Just. Like. Home. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mastering group therapy

Every year I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD (which is such a wonderful pun of an abbreviation). It's not terrible. It's just something I've always had; it's a part of me, just like so are my arms. This year, in preparation to combat SAD, I decided to go into "therapy".

My therapy was not typical and some may consider it not "real" therapy. But I've done "real" therapy before, I can honestly say that my therapy was real. 

My therapist name was Karen Roehl
My therapy was called Introduction to Acrylic Painting. 

Each week I would join a group of artists and we would have "therapy". 
There were about 12 people in my session and each coming from different backgrounds, but all of us having that overwhelming need to create through paint. Each week all of us working on our paintings and doing "art" exercises,  but also not realizing that this class was much more than just an introduction to painting. This class was therapy. This class was art. This class was essentially about life. 

  •  You can choose to paint from your brain or your gut. Your brain will trick you and scare you and, well, your gut won't. You're gut has your best interest (your creative juices), while your brain keeps you safe and alive. 
  • "There is no such thing as a failed painting. It just needs more layers on it." 
  •  Sometimes you don't know where the painting will take you, maybe you make a mark by accident and you think: "Wow, I really like how that looks. I'm just going to keep that."
  • Don't be afraid to paint over what you think is your best part of the painting. Most likely, there's another layer you put on that will be better. 

Every week I looked forward to therapy. It made my whole week manageable and happier. I didn't even notice that I was SAD. I would say that it was time and money well spent. Here is my master study from my group therapy. (A master study is when you copy someone else's artwork, to improve your own....this helps with learning brush strokes, color mixing, layering and deciding what colors were laid down first, etc.) 

Master Study of
Arbre couche 1923-1924
by Chaim Soutine

Thank God for therapy, in all it's forms. 
I now will refer to SAD as my Seasonal Art Disorder. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?
The most asked question that I get on an daily, sometimes hourly basis.
And not from my children.....although, I get it from them a lot too.

This is the question I get most asked from myself.... all of the time.
Are you there yet?

I look at this painting of Crested Butte, which I consider part of the area I grew up in and I can't determine if I'm there yet. I grew up there, therefore, I should know if I'm there yet. But, I can't determine if it is done yet. Should I add a village? I tried that once already and it didn't feel right. Should I add more detail? or is this one of those good messes? Maybe I need to change the music I'm painting to? maybe the colors?

.........Am I there.....yet?

I started over a few times already... and each time I really liked being "there", but then "there" wasn't where I thought "there" should be. "There" took me somewhere......else.
And sometimes "there" made me lost (I don't know which way to get there).
And there made me angry (There! I can't do it)
There made me ashamed (I was wrong, it was there).
There made me scared (I gotta get away from there).
And there made me cry (I don't want to be there) ALOT!
But, there has also comforted me (it's okay now, there, there), brought me joy (I'm so happy being there), made me laugh so hard I peed a bit in my pants (That there was funny), taught me courage & strength (I fought & deserve to be there), acceptance (you belong there), compassion (others belong there), and opened up new ways to be "there".
There has made me.

Enjoy the process (Look, you see what you did there?).
Enjoy the journey (There you go)
Enjoy the time (I will be there)

There (2015)
Acrylic on canvas 12x12

Everyone knows there are so many ways to get "there" and no right way to do it.
And, honestly, who the hell cares when you get "there" and where "there" is and how long it took you and how it was done.
Those who do are probably just assholes anyway, so there!

I am very grateful for whoever took this picture of the first snow in Crested Butte this year & more grateful for the friend who posted it on facebook. This kind of inspiration can lead you anywhere. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


When I was 9 years old, I was riding bare back with 2 of my friends on a horse. My 2 friends grew up on ranches with horses, so they were already expert riders. I had only been on a horse once before this, and it was a very slow, old, horse. I was sitting in the very back of this 3 chain of girls, and the horse took off..... I however, did not. I fell flat on my back, with my left arm bend underneath me, hit my head, knocked the wind out of my lungs and lay there in a field of mud and manure. I couldn't get up, I couldn't cry, the only thing I could do is just lay there. It took all I had in my 9 year old self to eventually get up. Since that moment, for the past 40 years I have had Equinophobia.

I don't know why this one experience was such a life changer for me, (I still remember it like it just happened), but it was. For years I was terrified to even be around a horse. It's only been in the past 5 years or so that I have been able to go up to them and pet them without having heart palpitations.

Now, don't get me wrong; I love the beauty of a horse and find them to be very gentle, calming creatures, but I can still remember that feeling of falling off of that horse. I don't want to have this fear, but it seems to be ingrained in my bones. I should probably just "get back on the horse" and try it again, you know,  "face my fears"........

And so, I painted a horse. Because, this is the best way for me to be around them and appreciate them.
Horsing around (2015)
Acrylic on canvas paper mounted on panel 6x8

I must say I really enjoyed painting these guys and it seems to have turned out okay for me.  
"That's your best painting." says my Dad.
"I can actually tell what it is."
Thanks Dad. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

I do it all for the "Nookie"

I like to hide.
That's right I like to hide and I do it whenever I can.

I like to hide when things are loud,
or scary,
or crowded,
or annoying,
or loud....(I really don't like loud)

I will relish in even 5 minutes of quiet time and if I have to hide to get it......Well?

To this day I still hide candy in my house from my family, so it's mine, ALL MINE!
(I should mention I grew up with a brother, who consistently stole my candy, read my diary, spied on me and my friends during our sleepovers.....I'm sure he hides nothing because I was an angel growing up, as sweet, sweet angel)
I have developed years and years and YEARS of extraordinary hiding skills!

I'm excited to announce,
I found my new hiding place.

It's in Paris.

I cannot disclose it's location.

But it looks like this:

Nook (2015)
Acrylic on panel board 6x6

I'd like to be there right now, curled up in my blanket with a book, a cup of tea & a chocolate bar, actually 2 chocolate bars, ya, I need two. 
Oh, and P.S. There's a cat in the corner, next to the chair, hiding. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's Leftover night

I must say, I truly love leftovers. They are just like hand-me-downs, so perfected the second time around. Now, I didn't grow up with too many leftover nights, as my Mom was quite efficient with cooking the exact amount of food for a family of 4. Also, I don't think my Dad liked leftovers, so these nights were few and far between (usually occurring when he was out of town). Admittedly, I looked forward to them (not as much as I looked forward to TV dinner night (also usually occurring when Dad was out of town).....mmmmmmm....that warm pudding heated up nicely in BPA emitting plastic covering...... God I miss the ignorance of the 80's.....but, leftovers, so good and most likely not cancer causing).

Fast forward 30 years & we have leftovers quite frequently when I cook and that is because
1. I'm not too efficient with cooking, sometimes I have too little, and mostly too much.
2. I lack some serious spacial/portion skills (Who knew there was so much Math involved with cooking).
3. I measure nothing, so most of my food is "one of a kind".
4. As I mentioned, I was quite neglected in my leftovers as a child and now I must live my leftover dreams.
I LOVE leftovers for lunch and once again for dinner and maybe breakfast the day after. (Enjoy it, because it will never taste this way a second time)
I LOVE YOU leftovers.  I don't have to cook, or measure or efficientate. I just reheat and open a new bottle of wine. It's that easy.

With this love of the leftovers, I decided to use my leftover paint from one painting and use it on a new one. The colors were already mixed, just need to "heat it up". Now, some will love it and some will not, but it's still new even though it was leftover.

Fall Waters (2015)
Acrylic on panel 5x7

Just get out the brushes and open a new bottle of wine.
It's that easy

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Painting Brainless, inspired by Monet

This past weekend, my uncle, Chuck, posted a picture to my facebook page of these beautiful fall leaves in a rock pond. Immediately I became obsessed with this picture.
From the moment he posted it, I thought about it constantly. I had a flow of ideas, and I went with my gut on them.....I shut out my thoughts.....and. just. painted.

Since our trip to Paris, I have also had a bit of fascination with Monet's water lily murals at the Musee de l' Orangie. I must admit that prior to our trip, Monet was not one of my favorite artists. I can appreciate his work and especially his color pallet, but when I have seen some of the paintings, they didn't inspire me like other artwork has done.
But seeing these murals in person, room after room,wall to wall.......Mind Blown! (que explosion)

I read that Monet was so inspired by his waterlilies in his back pond that he found bounds of inspiration from that one pond alone and created many beautiful works of art all from this one inspiration. To read more click HERE.  A muse like that is what keeps your heart beating. The water lily murals ARE now some of my favorite memories from our trip. More than the beauty these murals entice, there is a wonder of how he made these all look different and then how the heck did these get put together and maintain their magnificence.

So, this past weekend, I painted brainless, with my Uncle Chuck's posting, inspired by Monet. This is where it all took me. This is the first of 2 paintings I made from the same Muse.

Fall! Where the heck are you? (2015)
Acrylic on canvas 9x12

Brainless and Inspired. 
Thanks Uncle Chuck, 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I am AmateurDam

Ah, Amsterdam. So many think they're ready for you, only to find that they are amateurs.

I knew going to Amsterdam that it would be out of this world and over the top, but I honestly thought that "well people live here, so it can't be crazy everywhere."  Arriving into the train station.....It. Was. Nuts! So many people, bikes, lightrails, cars zipping by in all directions. It was anxiety provoking. I didn't know which way to look or cross so that I could maintain life.

I immediately wanted to leave and go back to Belgium.

The craziness continued when we went into the main square of Amsterdam, mostly known for it's coffee shops, that really don't serve any coffee or tea for that matter (but after the brush of death attempting to cross the street, they make more sense). And the red light district, which we only skirted, due to the littles that we had with us...............But, there is just no avoiding the shop windows. Full on sex shop window displays, out in the open, in your face, and 7 year olds asking you questions you do not want to answer today, or any other day.

"Mom what are those? It looks like a penis.Look there's a red one, a green one, a pink one....."
"Why are there so many penis here Mom?"
"I don't know, I don't live here." (Amateur)
Answer Accepted!
Ummmmmm, not quite. After more thought & another window.
"Why are the penis all different colors Mom?"
(Oh God, I need a drink or coffee shop now!)
"I just told you that I don't know because I don't live here."
"Oh......... Okay.............maybe Dad knows."
Now let's get the heck out of here before more questions come at me that I don't want to discuss on vacation. (Amateur)

And that's when I found the real character of Amsterdam, by side-stepping and avoiding and such. Outside of the crazy, over the top, and the crowds of young 20 year olds, looking for stories to tell, there is a beautiful city full of charm and down to earthiness that really can't be beat. The unique, quirkiness of Amsterdam, really lies in the canals, the locals and especially the side by side leaning houses. This is the place that is really lovely.

I can't wait to go back again.

AmateurDam (2015)
Acrylic on canvas 10x10 

The Peacock put it best. 
You really don't appreciate how awesome Amsterdam is until you are away from it. It's then that you realize this is a great place. 
True, but,  
"I don't know, I don't live here." 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Urban Biking- Guest blog by the Angry Peacock

Here it is, my big finished painting. 
For those who need a recap......see Here
For everyone else.......
Enjoy the peacock. 

Angry Peacock Denver Commute (2015)
Acrylic on Canvas 36x24 

As a Peacock American, a bicycle is the obvious transportation choice. We are naturally equipped with bright outfits and there is an inherent pride to bicycle commuting. A peacock says to his fellow commuters I am in the race on my terms, healthy, joyful, beautiful and sustainable in my habitat. We are most annoyingly happy. 

I sometimes detect animosity among my fellow commuters, the creatures in the automobiles. They scowl and huff as we pass them in traffic and defend our place on the road. I empathize with their dilemma. Traffic sucks, and if they do not rush home fast enough they will not have time to drive to the gym after dinner. 

People do not know that even Peacocks have anxiety and self esteem issues. I sometimes feel weak and hopelessly vulnerable, like when watching a TV show or movie in which an average Joe like me saves humanity with little more than his Mustang or 'dualie' pick-up truck and weapons cache. But, then I say to myself, 'no that's pretend and stupid,' and I go for a long ride and feel superior again.

I think this is because life's real villains are not aliens or commie invasions, but every day choices that lead to bigger problems. The superiority a peacock exudes on his bicycle is not something he states, it is inherent in his way and forms in the back of everyone's mind. Sometimes it takes the form of 'hey idiot get your bike on the side walk' and on rare occasion it leads to some desperate soul rolling coal on our feathers. 

For a Peacock it is critical to take care never to mention any sense of superiority to which we are entitled by our mere mode of transportation. Somethings require no mention.

- The Angry Peacock

Friday, August 28, 2015

Jet lagging behind

Jet lag. This is no joke. We've been back for a week now from Europe and I still don't quite feel right. I've done very little in my free time other than sleep and well, sleep. It has made me a bit lazy to want to do anything and that includes getting up in the morning to paint. Each morning I set the alarm to get up, but the jet jag demands that I sleep more. And so I oblige. It's quite persuasive this Jet lag. And I have fallen under it's spell this week. I've tried to ignore it & to forge ahead, but it gets you, on your day off.....wasted day off sleeping and watching "My Little Pony" movies instead of going to the Zoo, because......Jet Lag, he wants you home to nurture him and keep him around.

Well, now it's time to get back to it. Vacation is Over! Jet lag included.

It's now time to get my routine back into place.

I have so many ideas and fantastic things to paint, I don't even know where to start. So when I finally made some time & sat down to paint....I couldn't.  I was not lagging, I was stuck.

I went through all my vacation pictures & there was nothing that I wanted to paint. All those pictures & I just couldn't get excited.
But then, I found one!

I found a beautiful garden picture, I took before vacation. That's right, I painted my Denver again. Because sometimes when you're stuck you need your comfort & your home to get you excited for adventure. I think now I'm ready to tackle Europe.
Art Garden (2015)
Acrylic with pallet knife 6x8 canvas board

Here's to getting motivated, back on track and no longer lagging behind! 
(at least for now)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

462 square feet

It seems that everything in Europe is small living. They have to laugh at that show "tiny house" because seriously, this is how people live here in the cities. I noticed it in Paris, Brugge & Amsterdam. That's right, it was ME peeking in your windows at night because you left your curtains ever so open for my curious eyes. I can't help but admire your tiny artsy kitchen, Amsterdam hipster. Or your chandelier and antique furniture traditional Bruggean. Our 900 square feet seems gigantic in comparison. I realize I'm a mere grasshopper and I must continue to "wax on wax off" for many more years. I can't wait to come back & and learn more ways to live smartly small & peek in your window. 

Much to the peacock's dislike, I have now been cursed with the travel urge. We leave Europe tomorrow & My son & I have already been planning the next big trip. However, it will be several years out, as I need to have all family members fully potty trained & able to walk on their own without being carried. Oh, and Europe isn't all that cheap. 

It's been a wonderful trip with more painting to come once I get home. However, I must confess; painting was very hard to do during this vacation. (Blogging even more so) We kept fairly busy being tourist & at the end of a full day of sights & walking, I only wanted to sleep. Also, young children need attention. Who knew?

I also must confess that although I love vacation & Europe & can't wait for the next big trip, I'm ready to go home to my own food, bed, & routine. I need my kids to go back to school.....ASAP! And the peacock needs his bike rides. 

We all need the peacock to have his bikes rides! 

But before we leave here's a bit more Paris journaling. 

Eiffel & Seine (2015) 
Water color journal

Jardin Des Tuileries (2015)
Water color journal

Paris Cafe (2015)
Water color journal 

Eiffel (2015)
Water color journal


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

We're not Catholics, we're tourists

The city of Paris is divided into different arrondissements. We stayed in the 5th arrondissement, which is the Latin quarter. Paris has so much history here, the Latin quarter is best known for La Sobonne and the pantheon. But I know it best for saint severin church (Eglise saint sulpice). This is where that crazy priest, Silas from the DaVinci Code went to find the keystone. I enjoy conspiracy/DaVinci type shows & let me tell you, Paris is screaming with codes! 

Codes & tourist! 
My next trip here will be purely investigative of all Mary Magdalene conspiracy theories. 

Anyway, I believe this was the perfect place for us to inhabit during our Paris part of our trip. Our apartment we rented over looked saint severin church (so I was super excited to watch for Silas types) & we could see the top of the Eiffel Tower from our window. Interestingly our apartment was once inhabited by a famous German writer / playwright Bertolt Brecht. But the best part was we were in walking distance to Norte Dame (&this awesome market that made these little lemon meringue tortes.)
But I digress. 

Now, we are not catholic, but we are tourists & this was a must see!  This cathedral is breath taking in its size & beauty. The lines to get in however, are atrocious! Not as bad as the Eiffel Tower lines, but definitely at least an hour wait. We however, got up early one morning to avoid lines at the Louve (also atrocious lines) and on our way noticed that Norte Dame had NO lines! No lines! We went in, line free....and well worth it. The stained glass is impressively beautiful both on the inside and out. During the night the cathedral glows a yellowish green & street performers abound. 

                                                Norte Dame Paris (2015)
                                                Water color journal 9x7 
Norte Dame is a definite must see, despite your religious conspiracy. I'd now like to leave you with this triumphant quote from the movie Rudy. (Who played for the fighting Irish) 

"We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. We're gonna get 'em on the run, boys, and once we get 'em on the run, we're gonna keep 'em on the run. And then we're gonna go go go go go go and we're not gonna stop 'til we get across that goal line. This is a team they say is... is good. Well, I think we're better than them. They can't lick us, so what do you say, men?"

It's best to think this way when tackling the lines in Paris. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I left my paint in Dresden

Wow, has it been a long time since I got my blog on. There's been no time to sit & between the jet leg & the exhaustion from site seeing, there was NO WAY 4am was going to happen (4am Denver time, maybe). I really have had no concept of the time over here.

But that's vacation.

First stop on the "official" vacation.....Dresden, Germany.
Dresden is in eastern Germany & we rented a car & drove from Frankfurt to Dresden in 3 & 1/2 hours. Let me tell you, driving in Germany on the autobahn is awesomely amazing. There are no slow assholes Sunday strolling in the left lane. It's all business! Left lanes for passing. Business, All business! It's fast & extremely efficient. You get where you need without yelling, screaming, & throwing the bird....maybe just a couple "German stare downs" for warning.

We got to Dresden  & the architecture was stunning. A bit of history about Dresden is that it was bombed completely to a flattened ground during WW2. Brief history gives over view of The bombing of Dresden.

For a first hand account & a great read click Here

Dresden, Germany 2015
9x7 watercolor & ink (water color journal) 

Anyway, leaving Dresden after 2 days I sat down to paint this picture of this beautiful city I'd sketched & realized.... Oh crap! I left my paints in the hotel in Dresden. 
Crap! Crap! Crap! 
Deep breath, you'll be okay. 

This actually ended up working out splendidly for me, as I drug the family to Sennelier. This is the oldest art store in Paris. It was well worth losing paints over. I went in this tiny little shop & had a French "artist" who works at the store give me a tsssst, when I said I'd like to look at both student & professional water color. I can't help but piss off French people with my indecisiveness. I really don't care if I make him have to do his job. I want my paints & I want them to be good ones! 

He warmed up to me......I think? 

Well, I saw beautiful Dresden, I got my paints, pissed off the French, not bad for a first few days in Europe. 


Friday, July 24, 2015

To everything, TURN, TURN, TURN....

It has officially been 1 month since I started this painting. This Large painting! Although, I am enjoying it tremendously, it has somewhat become my "kitchen remodel". This meaning, that once I paint one detail, I realize that I need to add another one or fix something else to have it look right. It's a necessary cycle. I've taken several "breaks" from this one and have often woken up in the morning to work on it, only to find that I have drank a pot of tea and all I've done is sit and stare at it. I've been stuck. I've made some breakthroughs. I've been utterly annoyed, I've walked away, and yet have completely found joy with it all.
"A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing"

For the past week I've only been working on this guy (no other littles). I tell you this, because I've had a few people ask when I'm going to post again. And, since I suffer from ADD..(see ADD flare)
I have decided NOT to intermix the little paintings for now, and I'm going to spend this whole next week finishing it!

This painting was the kick off start to me getting back into painting again after 20 years away. I sketched it out 6 months ago, (6 MONTHS AGO!) during the goldfish's nap.....the next thing you know I'm on Craigslist buying an easel and down $200 in art supplies.....(this number might be greatly deflated).

I'm very excited to TURN this thing around soon! Because I do think it's getting close.

In the meantime, here is a couple little snippets off my "kitchen remodel".

It is the season. 
Turn, Turn, Turn. 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin, Plunge right through that line!

Every time I take a trip to see my in-laws, I make the peacock take me to the UW campus and State Street in Madison, WI.
Why you ask?
I like my in-laws, I didn't go to school there.

It's all because it is F ing awesome. I really can't get enough of State street and the qwirky little shops. But, Memorial Terrace (can we go to the place with all the colored chairs) is my favorite. I really can't explain as to why. I just really like the whole atmosphere. I kinda want to go be 22 again and be a UW hipster. (Actually, I really just want to be a hipster).

Oh, and I forgot to mention, The Chairs. The CHAIRS!  The wonderful colored chairs. All the chairs appear to be having the time of their life, conversing, hipstering, living the life of a social butterfly, independently wealthy professional students.

I want to be a UW chair........

"So, I told Sam, I'm totally done just sitting here and listening to bullshit. I mean, it's time for me to move on." -Yellow chair
"Word, I know what you mean, moving on over was the best thing for me. I mean I was somewhat forced to move, like dragged, but still, it was the best move ever." -Orange chair
On the Terrace (2015) Madison, WI
Watercolor Journal 

"Tomorrow, I'm totally gonna do it. I'm totally gonna jump in the naked this time. It's gonna be awesome!" -Yellow chair
"You totally should." -Green chair
"I know, it'll be all #cannonball #terracechairstyle #chairsaway #sittindippin......

Overlooking the Lake (2015) Madison, WI
Watercolor Journal 
#chairishthemoment, #chairiobeaches


Monday, July 6, 2015

The Queen- A semi self portrait (Ok, self portrait)

Ok, so this just might be a self portrait in a sense of how I act at the ballpark. Not so much at Coors field (Ok, maybe a little at Coors), but mostly at my son's games. I can't really help it though, sometimes baseball requires a royal intervention.

And here's a story as to why.

A few weeks back my son's team, the Stars, had made it into the semi finals for their machine pitch 8 and under league. Not an easy feat. For months I have been taking him to practice & watching, not only him, but the other 6-8year olds working on their game with dreams of making it in the Major leagues one day. Those who shuffle kids to sports know the sacrifice it takes to get them there and ALL the investment.

Now here's where I get pissed...."off with your head pissed!"

My son's team played this team we will call....."Win at all costs" or WAAC for short. (Because that's what it was, WAAC, ass, crazy). WAAC played 2 pitchers, & 3, YES 3 extra WTF comes to mind, I know, because that's what all of us parents & coaches said. But heaven forbid some kids have to sit on the bench....
WTF are we doing to our children?!?!? I mean really. This is a tournament baseball league! This is baseball! What really are you teaching them? Baseball is F ing hard. It's best to learn that now. Oh, and news flash, Life is hard and, there are people on the bench and people working hard, really F ing hard.

Just writing this makes my blood boil. Our coaches asked the other team to play fair with 9 on 9. They did not. "Off With YOUR HEAD!" So our team played 9 on 13. The peacock, of course,  went ape shit over the fairness of this game (was threatened to be kicked out for questioning the fairness of WAAC) & how can all these adults think this is an okay way to teach children sportsmanship & the game of baseball? How can all these parents watch little kids be treated so unfairly. I mean you're keeping score, counting 3 outs, counting 3 strikes, but play 13 players...that makes no sense. In fact it is nonsense. NONSENSE! Anyway, we were ahead until the last inning. We lost in the last inning by 2 runs. Life isn't fair & sometimes people cheat & win. Sometimes you play against a stacked deck. And you battle hard, only to come up frustrated and short. But eventually....eventually, I know David beats Goliath, it's either that or its off with their heads. Which ever comes first.

Off with their heads (Coors field) (2015)
Acrylic on canvas 6x6
Wonderland Denver 

I'm pretty sure my son is already over this, for me, well........... 
" I warn you, child... if I lose my temper, you lose your head! Understand?" -Queen of Hearts


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dancing, Fighting , and Forgiving Mathematics

I read on the internet that Alice in Wonderland was originally about the author's field of study, math....Math, really?!  (click this link to see). Math link (This is a great read)
I always thought this book was about drugs or just some really crazy fantasy dream with wild subliminal messages. But math has always been hard for me & has made utter nonsense through most of my schooling, so I guess I can see that.
Sort of?
However, reading it now as an adult, I have come to feel that for me, this book is about struggles of everyday life and how we interpret and make sense of those struggles.....math included!
Let's take a look at the Tweedles. Now they for the most part get along, loving to dance, tell stories, doing the "Math" of life. Contrariwise, they often also battle. They have been battling over the same thing for years! YEARS!!! Dee broke Dum's rattle (a silly rattle!) and he has never forgiven him for this act.....hmmmmm, forgiveness.
Now, that is a problem that I'm quite certain even Math cannot solve.
Forgiving your children, your lover, your boss, coworkers, friends, enemies.....
Forgiving yourself.
But also letting these things go. One minute you are dancing, one minute you are fighting. The balance of power, the internal struggle, the restoration and reduction...."The Temper" of life.

I painted the Tweedles with Borofsky's "The Dancers". These too (Two) have also caused some fight with their dance. Dancers Objection/commentary (I personally really like both The Dancers and Borofsky. The sculpture itself looks different every single time I see it).
The Dancers are really much like the Tweedles. Their relationship to each other is different every time you see them. They often appear to make nonsense in their "temper". I hope that one day we all can truly forgive each other, and mostly ourselves to really fully enjoy the dance we are doing... mind our tempers.

The Battle of the Dance (Borofsky's "The Dancers") 2015
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

"Let's fight till six, and then have dinner."-Tweedledum
"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?" -Tweedledee

I suppose I should forgive & thank mathematics, for without it, I would have no Wonderland Denver series to paint.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Madly crashing the palace

I have never been to the Brown Palace. I've never stayed there and I've never been there for tea.
I know this is shocking to some, as I drink tea by the pot fulls, and live within walking distance, but I've just never gone. It is on my list of one of the Denver things I need to go do.

Tea at the Brown Palace has been going on for over a century. Now, that's not long by London standards, but by Denver standards, that's MAD!

For the third painting in my Wonderland Denver series, I love the thought of the Mad Hatter and March Hare crashing the Brown Palace for a tea party. This thought brings me endless joy. The Mad Hatter and March Hare themselves, are quite interesting characters, and not too different from patrons of The Brown Palace or your local bar. The March Hare wants time to stand still, living only in the tea time. He does not move forward or backwards, or even in the moment. He remains still, wanting time to stop. The Mad Hatter seems to be waiting patiently for his friend/partner/loved one to "snap out of it", all the while trying to keep his own sanity, but somewhat already going mad.
Crashing the Palace (Brown Palace) 2015
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

"Have I gone mad?" -Mad Hatter
 "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. -Alice
But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” (Tim Burton add-on from the remake, which is brilliant)


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Buying vs. Renting

The White Rabbit. The second in my Wonderland Denver series.
I have to be honest, this painting was difficult for me. The white rabbit stresses me out. All the rushing and gives me chest pain. He's getting squeezed for time, money, housing, you name it. He's doing his best to keep his job, his house, raise his family all within the shrinking moment of time; that he can't enjoy and that he has no control over. His commute to work is long and stressful. Each day he loses more and more time in his life. He looks at his life and asks: F*@k, where did my 20's go?...."No wonder you're late, you're watch is exactly 2 days slow."(-Mad Hatter) F*@k, now I have to find some time and money to buy a new watch... . He works a job to pay the bills and his student loans, for a crazy nut who at any moment might chop off his head, his feet or his balls....who knows? His boss is crazy. He has no time for ANYONE, let alone himself. He is a very depressing character. At the rate he is going he will most likely become bankrupt from medical bills due to stress related illnesses (especially if the GOP gets into office and begins to screw with Obamacare...yes, I support Obamacare, in fact I think we should have a healthcare system like Europe! Seriously, let's get with it already)
Many of us have played the part of the Rabbit at some point in our lives.

He doesn't own his time......everyone else does. His time is rented.

If only we could buy him some time......
More time for his classes,
More time for his children,
More time for his vacation
More time for his wife's maternity leave,
More time for himself!
More Time...........
But quite possibly maybe it's not about buying time, but slowing down to DEMAND it! Make it! OWN it!

"Mr. Rabbit, WAIT, Please!" (Union Station Denver) (2015) 
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

"The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." -Rabbit

Friday, June 12, 2015

"Not blue, not green, not aquamarine."

We are officially into summer! YeeeeHaaaawwww! The last day of first grade was on Wednesday and now it's time to stay up late, sleep in, and watch TV All Day!
Uh no, THAT is not happening! You get 2 vacation TV days, then it's off to camp for you boy!
This year "the boy" is going to attend the YMCA camp and a Lego Jedi engineering camp. I'm going to keep him active and busy. He has a love of the TV (The Simpsons particularly) and I really want him to be outside and also keeping up with his reading.

We are fortunate to be able to walk to the Central Public library, which is the most beautiful building in Denver! We sign up for summer reading every year and they really have a great program.

Now, about painting. Summer reading has excited me to start my first painting series.
"Wonderland Denver" (guess what I'm reading right now)

This painting is the first in this series and I have at least 3 more planned. I'm going to see where it takes me. Isn't that what summer is all about? No rules, being free, trying out new things? I can't promise anything other than I have an idea and I'm going to run with it (or bridge run with it, as I'm not a runner) See Bridge Running and Base Jumping Blog post.

Yipppeeee  Summer!

Painting the Roses (Denver Public Library)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

"What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?" (Alice)

Monday, June 8, 2015

8 year old girls hate Clayton Kershaw

I am truly an 8 year old girl in my heart. This is the age I revert to when I am tired, hungry, sad, angry.....and having an artist block, which is currently occurring. I must be honest, I have not been painting every day. This past week I have only been sleeping in the early mornings. I'm not sure why, but I have been both tired and uninspired (not because there is not inspirational things or moments around, but because that feeling for me has been taken over by other feelings I guess).

But.......a break in the weather & thus my mood last week, I stumbled upon a beautiful scene of the city when looking for a place to get  my kids dinner before our son's baseball practice.

"Mom, what street are we on?"
I don't know, look at the city, I need to pull over and take a picture.
"Mom, I think we are close to a Subway."
Yeah! I eat suway too. (goldfish) I wuv suway! 
No, subway! They put yoga mats in their bread.
yoya mats? 
"No, they don't do that anymore, they said so on the commercial."
No, subway!
I wan suway!!! I wan suway!!!
I can't believe I've never seen this view of the city before.
"Mom, Clayton Kershaw eats subway all the time and he's one of the best pitchers in major league."
Oh My God! you know what else Clayton Kershaw eats?
Yoga mats. We're not getting subway.
"Mom! They don't put yoga mats in the bread anymore!!!!"
I wan suway. I!   WAN! SUNWAYYYYY! 
"Okay fine, how about a morning bun from Starbucks?"

I must interject.....please don't judge. My children 90% of the time do eat really good foods, but we also are very active and  sometimes snacks and meals are on the road and done in a hurry. They also know when to catch me at my moment of traffic irritated weakness (this is when Starbucks and Subway first emeged)

No! I'm getting some chicken and veggies from Sprouts.
Uhhhhhhh I wan suway uhhhhhhh

I now revert to my 8 year old self and imagine a time with no Subway, no Starbucks & No Kershaw! Only bright rainbows and lots of glittery clouds above a quiet colorful city. A Quiet, Quiet, city.

Ahhh.........Peaceful thoughts.
Bright rainbows, quiet times.
Lots of glitter!
No Kershaw........

Rainbow Bright (2015)
Acrylic on panel 9x12

"Mom, if you get chicken I will not eat it, I'm just going to starve for my practice!"
uuuuuuhhhhhh, I wan suway uhhhhhhhhhh!!! 

Damn you Clayton Kershaw!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Grand Texas, Funk you up, send off.

On my last day in Texas, within the Alamo, we stumbled upon pure Texas magic.
The Mariachi Band. 

These guys.......I have no words. 

Don't believe me? Just watch:

(Video is not the greatest, I'm still figuring that out with the blogging, but just listen!)

Grand Funk Mariachi (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x6

Thank You Texas, you have funked me up! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Is this Crane for real

While walking to my conference in San Antonio I ran across this guy on my first day on my way in (it was early in the morning....6-something Denver time).
I was quite tired heading into the conference, as I slept like crap in the hotel and had just flown in the night before (and like I mentioned, I don't enjoy flying).

I really wasn't sure he was real to be honest. I thought he might be a statue placed on the river walk for decoration. I snapped some pictures of him, watched him closely for a bit and then realized that the conference was starting and I was now late (this is a common occurance, I'm easily distracted and often late because of it). I'm pretty sure he was real....I just was so tired.

Then, a few nights later, I was walking back with my friend, Megan, after throwing a few back....we stumbled upon this piano bar and then the night got long. It was about 1am when we headed back to our hotel and while walking back, there he was!
The Craniac!

"Look there he is, we should be really quiet and sneaky (you know because quiet is always accomplished after a few drinks) I think he's real."

Now, I was a bit frightened, as I now thought he was real and going to attack us, plus, he was really close (really really close) and my sense of reality was more impaired than it is at baseline. We sneakily walked past him and he immediately flew off across the way.......

He's a Craniac (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

That crane is REAL! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Alamo vs. a coffee machine

When you are visiting another city, you ask the locals what they do for fun, but a lot of times you really just want to do the touristy things. This was the case with San Antonio for me. This trip was not a vacation, it was for work, so my touristing was limited to dinners and a half day on a Thursday before I had to be at the airport.

We had asked a local about the Alamo. Now, I was bound and determined to go see the Alamo, I grew up on old Westerns and I'm pretty sure my dad sung the Bonanza theme to my brother and I when we were babies. It's an important historical site and it was walking distance from our hotel.
Despite this, we still asked a local what he recommends.

"The local" (or so he claims) said that the Alamo wasn't worth it and that we should just walk by it.
He of course gave us a different recommendation of some coffee shop with this coffee machine that is only in San Antonio (we would have to take a cab to get there and most likely wait in a line) and the way it's brewed makes the coffee's a one and only in the world.....blah blah blah.
Coffee machine or Alamo....hmmmmm, that's a tough one.....

I'm sorry, but seriously, a coffee machine!?  This is the Alamo! There's no competition when it comes to the Alamo vs a coffee machine. Do you know how many guns are inside the Alamo? Cases of Guns! Cases and cases of old one of a kind, historical guns.
I grew up with a Dad obsessed with John Wayne, he would disown me if I went to a coffee shop over the Alamo.

We did not go to the coffee shop.

By the way, the Alamo was amazing and completely worth it. The inside gardens are a site to behold. I really wasn't into the guns, but I appreciated them for their historic value. I really enjoyed seeing this site and I would go back again (if I was ever on a work trip or layover, because like I said before, I would not willingly vacation in Texas).

Alamo Insider (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 5x7

Bottom line: Just be a tourist. 
You can be cool in your own city. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nothing but air, good ole plein Texas air

I recently had to travel to Texas (San Antonio to be exact) to attend and speak at a conference for my job. I have to be honest, I was not looking forward to going to Texas. Not only do I not enjoy flying, but I would not choose to visit Texas.

Regardless, I got on the plane.
I went to Texas.
It didn't totally suck.
In fact, something happened.
It's called Plein Air and I've always found it terrifying.
But what better place to try this out than a place that I will most likely never willingly visit again.

I took with me a set of soft pastels and 3 pastel panels and then I set out on the river walk looking for a Texas adventure.

So there I was sitting in various places of the riverwalk, with my pastels, and panels; "being arty", not caring who was around and what they were doing. Just me and my shadow, outside.....sketching.

Here's what happened.
Day 1:
 I had a hard time just figuring out where to sit, to accommodate myself and not feel weird. I found this place down by the mall, where there was a live band playing "easy listening, adult hits", of which I knew all the songs, so I sang while I sketched. (I often sing while I paint at home too, it keeps me relaxed)
River Walk (2015)
Soft pastel on pastel panel 5x7
Plein Air: San Antonio 

Day 2:
This was quite a fun day. I met so many people while sketching this scene. Most of them tourist like myself, but a few natives as well. Many came by to see what I was doing. Few offered their comments and opinions, which I found pleasant. 
Heading Up (2015)
Soft pastel on pastel board 5x7
Plein Air: San Antonio 

 Day 3: 
I loooooved this building with the Texas flag on top. It was what I used to navigate my way through the city. I have A LOT of pictures of this building (meaning, you may see it again). I also was able to figure out how to add the river boat in. It helped that there was so many of them traveling so frequently. This one is a bit out of proportion, but I purposely made the Texas flag big, because everything is bigger in Texas, in case you didn't know that. 
Going Big in San Antonio (2015)
Soft pastel on pastel board 5x7
Plein Air: San Antonio 

So I guess my lesson is this:
1. Don't be afraid to go out and create in the air around. It's actually really fun.
2. Don't mess with Texas (at least that's what all the gift shop magnets say)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Here come the judge

I was asked about a month ago by one of my friends (who is the mother to my son's best bud), to create a painting for her office. She recently became a judge and was in the process of decorating her space. I of course was honored and accepted the request. She asked if I could paint a courthouse for her office.

Now, there are a lot of courthouses here in Denver. When I think of a Denver courthouse I think of where I had to pay my $360 school zone speeding ticket (for the record, I was going 20 in a 15), which was at the City and County building.I was super excited to paint this courthouse, because they light it up at Christmas, and I walk by it on my way to work. It's a large, beautiful building. I also really like the newer court of appeals next to the library; the architectural angles on it are screaming to be interpreted.

Wait.....not those courthouses?......Oh, those are state courthouses and you're a Federal Judge!?
Holy Sh(you know what)!
You're a Federal judge!?
Now, that is impressive & secondly, now what?
Thankfully, she knows her courthouses and guided me to an old beautiful courthouse that sits across from a diner that the Peacock and I use to frequent before kids, but unfortunately is no longer. The lightrail stops right in front of it. The old and the new. I immediately loved it and rerouted my walk to my son's school to study and scope it out, for a few weeks, much to his complaints. (Uhhh, we're walking by the courthouse many more pictures do you're  not done with that painting yet?)
I'm Done!!
And now,

All rise for the honorable 10th Circuit (2015)
Acrylic on canvas board 9x12

 Congratulations to the new judge! 
"It'll be good to know a judge as the kids get older." -Peacock 
Ahhhhh...It better not be.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I'm a commute-ist

In our house, we support many public goods: swimming pools, fire departments, PBS, public school, and of course, public transportation. The peacock takes a train every day to work 40 minutes away. I love a good ride on the train too. So relaxing and slow, makes me feel all urban old fashion Bostonian inside. When I lived in Boston I took the T everywhere. That's where I first fell so in love with trains. I then became a fan of Thomas the train and the love grew. Here in Denver we have a modern train called the Lightrail. But I still call it the train because that's what it is (Mom, you call everything a train).

I like public transportation and I am proud to be a commuter whether by bus, bike, foot, or train. I truly don't understand why Sir Topham Hatt doesn't ditch his car and ride on his trains for free. Between you and me, it's time for him to go, time for a change. Sodor needs some sustainable forward thinking. Topham Hatt is a little too clueless / elitist for my taste. But I digress....If you want to get caught up on your reading, the train is where time stands still. If you like to knit, you can create an entire scarf on your ride to work. If you have children that need something to do on a rainy day, put them on the next train; you get out your book and keep warm with your scarf and just ride the train. Back and forth. Back and forth. Everyone loves a train once they get going. I'm telling you, it's fun to be a commutist.

Commute-ist 2015)
Acrylic on canvas 9x12

Cinders and Ashes that Lightrail is a really useful engine.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weeding drops of sunshine

I have always loved dandelions. I remember picking these lovelies when I was very young. I picked them all the time in daycare for award ceremonies, weddings, playhouse centerpieces, and  funeral flowers to put on dead worm and ladybug graves. I picked them for my teachers and of course Mom.

Now, I know that these are considered weeds, but I don't care (The best honey I've ever had was dandelion honey). I have never seen them this way. Every time my children give me these little yellow drops of sunshine, I am happy & I am loved. Dandelions are for Moms. Not because they are under appreciated and are a garden weed; but just opposite, because in the eyes of a child,
with dandelions,
1. You will never get in trouble for picking them (unlike the columbine), but if you do, you will probably be forgiven and hug it out over a cookie and hot cocoa.
2. You know that you can always count on them to be there for you (to pick). In fact, they seem to be everywhere.... all the time....will they ever just leave me alone? Ghaaah, I'm going to my room.
3. When it's time, they let their seeds fly away.
4. They are the most beautiful flower you will ever see. Little drops of sunshine. Especially For Mom.

Dandy Drops of Sunshine (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x6
Click to bid

Happy Mother's Day to all mom's but especially my own. 
I love you. 

Warning: If the peacock thinks he can bring home dandelions for Mother's day, he will be placed on the next plane to Wisconsin to give those dandelions to his Mother! It's only cute when it comes from your children.