Monday, August 22, 2016

I'm Still Here

It has been SUCH a busy summer! But a good one. I know I mentioned on my facebook page that I was starting a new little artistic venture. That company I started has taken off and is soaring. I'm actually struggling to keep up! Eeeeeeeeeeek! It has been exciting thinking about the possibilities it has.

But that is not what this post is about. This post is that, yes, I'm still here and I'm still painting! I had a couple of opportunities to teach some kids and adult art classes this summer through the Stumptown Art Center. I'll do a post about those in a couple of weeks after my last class. This has been such a busy summer between my new little flourishing business, art classes and all the painting I've been doing. I've had several commissions this summer....that have taken me longer to paint/finish than I ever wanted them to. :( I know I can't paint everything super fast but sometimes it's frustrating when you aren't painting as fast as you would like. Thankfully, everyone has been super patient. (Bless their hearts). I only have one left to go and I should hopefully finish that in a couple of weeks as well (fingers crossed).

I have also been painting for an upcoming exhibition at Stephen Isley Jewelry in Whitefish, MT. I've been working on some western images in an art nouveau style. It's quite exciting. I love how they are turning out. This image is Annie Oakley. I took a quick snap of the painting on my phone, in bad light, just after I finished it so it doesn't look as nice online as I'd like, but it's there for you to get a sense of where I'm going with this.

I'm going to have paintings of Annie, Calamity Jane, Bell Starr, a bison, a horse, and (if I'm able to get it done in time) Jesse James. If I finish Jesse or not, I like where this is going and want to do a whole series! Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy, Wyatt Earp, Stagecoach Mary, Laura Ingles Wilder, General Custer, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Crazy Horse, ect. I want to paint a lot of western icons in this style. It's been fun exploring a different artistic style while trying to add my own little flair to it and painting what interests me. YAY for something different and trying new things.

If you do happen to be in area September 1st, the show will be from 5-8 at Stephen Isley Jewelry in downtown Whitefish, MT.

And thanks for sticking around to see what is new on the blog! Sorry it has been so long since I last posted!!!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


I had the opportunity to teach watercolor at Stumptown art studio in Whitefish,  MT twice since the new year. It has been so much fun and really reminds me why I love watercolor. I also love sharing my favorite medium with hopes that they'll love it too.
The first class I taught was color in the winter landscape. We painted a picture of sunlight coming through a forest of trees in Glacier. It was great to see everyone's interpretation and style come through.
The second class was watercolor journaling with ink. Inspired by the images I did on a week long river trip last May, I shared with the class techniques and tips to create spontaneous and fresh studies of the world around you.
I don't teach very often but I sure do have fun sharing watercolor with others!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

FINALLY finished!

I finally finished the piece of the draft horse I've been working on. Unfortunately, my scanner is on the fritz so there are all sorts of weird lines in my scan. :( Guess it's time for a new one. I've had my scanner for 11 years (Through 4 moves and heavy use)!!!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year


I can't believe how quickly 2015 went! It was full of so many wonderful adventures and discoveries as well as some not so joyus moments...but those moments of adversity can create learning experiences and lead you down paths you never thought you'd go!

I hope you all celebrate your triumphs of 2015 in your own special way and may 2016 be bigger and better for us all! :)

Happy New Year!

(image from

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

I wish I had some finished paintings to show you. Not quite done with the the many I'm working on in various stages. But I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas and I hope you have a lovely day, week, month of holiday celebrations. I can't believe the new year is next week! Time sure flies....and faster every year too. YIKES!

Here is wishing you all peace, prosperity and new adventures in the coming year!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Different Direction

This year was a bittersweet one. The good of it was that I feel I accomplished some solid paintings and am continuing to grow in skill as a watercolorist. I love watercolor and the way it works. I have some ideas for directions to go with my work and am excited about what the future holds. The bad was the art fair season...they were rough. I love doing the outdoor art's a great way to meet my clients and fellow art lovers and artists. I make friends and usually end up with a new piece for my ever expanding art collection. But I do need to at least break even on expenses to keep the habit going and this year I fell so far from the basic line. Perhaps I'm in the wrong venue? Wrong region? Oversaturated market? It's kinda hard not to take it so personal. I've read many blog posts from other artists that, in not so many words, say that when you sell you feel like you're a good artist and creative soul. When you don't, you feel like a failure, debating if you a hack or wannabe masquerading as an artist. You question your skill, training, talent, approach, technique, medium, subject matter, booth design, framing choice, your attire,....the list goes on. You wonder if you should even go on. 'Maybe I should just be like everyone else and get a 9-5 would be stable'. So many doubts and fears, all because you had a bad show. One good show and it all disappears, but after a year of bad shows you begin to wonder, am I any good???

Bad shows or not, I know I am good....I have a style all my own, a voice, and that is neat! But I realize I have SO MUCH TO LEARN. And that is one of the things I LOVE about art. You can never stop learning. You can never stop progressing and evolving as a creative spirit. Sometimes, though, you need to take a step back and focus on the little things, focus on painting and creating solely for you.

Which leads me into sharing with you all a different creative direction for me from the watercolor. I've always been a doodler and a drawer. Most of my school assignments from my youth featured little horses prancing, rearing, bucking, and eating grass along the borders. There was one time I remember actually getting scolded in the middle of a science class because I was drawing on my notes instead of giving my full attention to the teacher as he lectured....chemistry, it's not my thing. (but give me biology and geology anyday!) Before I start a painting I begin with a little doodle to figure out the composition of the piece. Then I work on the drawing. If the drawing doesn't look right, I won't paint it. You have to start with a solid's the framework of what you're wanting to achieve. But to keep myself from not getting bored or to inspire new ideas, I often doodle, sketch and draw. Most of these will never see the light of day.

I also have a passion for gift part so I can wrap a package and make it beautiful! I love pretty paper and ribbons and bows. LOVE...or maybe I should say obsessed??? LOL. I was looking at some doodles and thought it would look neat as wrapping paper. I wanted to know if I could make my own and started researching different options. Well, I'm happy to announce that I now have several designs of wrapping paper sheets that I've created and that has led to my silk screening/screen printing some of these drawings onto fabric and creating textiles for the home. I've printed and sewn fabric and made tea towels, linen table runners & napkins, pillows, infinity scarves, and men's neckties. It has been fun! I haven't screen printed since high school....which is a loooooooooong time ago. I forgot how much fun it is. I decided this holiday season I would do some craft shows and sell these instead of the fine art. It's been a lot of work but it's been fun.

The most amazing thing out of this different artistic venture is the passion for my painting. When I sit down to paint it is for me. It's so much more rewarding. I don't feel any pressure to crank out paintings of subjects that might sell. I can enjoy the process. I love this! I can't wait to see what paintings emerge from this new found painting freedom. I will still be doing art festivals, but not as many. I'm just going to paint! :) Oh, and if you want to see some of the things I've created on my new artistic venture, check out

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chalk n Rock Festival

I was able to participate in the Chalk n' Rock festival that was held in Bigfork, MT again this year. SO MUCH FUN again! There were some great musicians that were playing some fun music and I had a spot next to my friend Kayla. The weather was much cooler than last year which was much better, I thought. I wasn't melting away in the heat. There was a little threat of rain, but it never came. THANK HEAVENS!

For those of you that are new, the chalk n' rock festival is a new thing to Bigfork. This was the 2nd year. They block of Electric Ave. (which is the main street in 'downtown' Bigfork) and paint at least 20 8x8 squares in the middle of the road with black chalk paint. Artists young and old, professional or emerging are invited to chalk up a square with an it an original work of theirs or a work by another artist (most likely long since gone from this world). I did another piece of mine this year...and a horse, again.

They give us a fresh box of chalk and set us loose!

I grid out my image (that I printed out on the computer) and then grid out my giant chalk square and begin drawing. It's sooooooo easy with a grid. You are just copying what you see in each square and WHAM BAM! You have a finished drawing perfectly drawn. That's the easiest part. Then you sit on your knees, bum, side or you squat and work work work! I went through 11 pieces of white chalk this year. I like how it turned out. Everyone was hard at work too. Every now and then, we all would get up and walk around to stretch and check out what else was being chalked.

The chalk n' Rock festival is over two days. Which is great because I really needed it this year. Judging took place at 2pm on Sunday and then awards were announced at 5pm. My friend Kayla won a tie between first for her piece of a squid battling a sea monster! So cool!

The neat thing is the promoters also paint up at least 100 1ft squares for kiddos to chalk up. It is so neat to see what they draw and how they do it. My good friend Melinda came down with her family and her little girl drew a beautiful image that I just have to share with you!

Once again, it was another super fun year. I can't wait for next year...I have so many ideas!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Posting to Post!

Yikes! It has been A W I L E since I have last posted!!!!! :/ Sorry everyone! The day job has been keeping me busy. We were sooooo short staffed that I was working A LOT but thankfully we've hired a couple of people and the training process is winding down and I can get back to creating. I'm working on a draft horse now....similar to one I did several years ago that I named Blinders. It's taking forever, though, due to the lack of time I have to devote. I guess I could just sit down and force myself to finish it...but, ya know, projects abound and sometimes I swear I have the attention span of a goldfish!

I'm attempting to deep clean my house...always a necessity after art fair season. Things are just tossed by the wayside, clutter accumulates, half finished tasks pile up and then I feel like I'm living in a tornado. *sigh* So, I watch episodes of hoarders to make myself realize it could be MUCH worse! LOL. Plus, I'm really wanting to build a small house and am trying to purge all the unnecessaries in my life. It's especially hard for me because I DO hoard art supplies. Paper, frames, matting supplies, paint, canvas, etc, etc, etc...I know I don't need it all but I sure feel like I do! I really need to learn to live with less. I think that is really something we need to do as a society too. Maybe it's because I'm older, but every time I go shopping and go to a box store (TARGET IS MY FAVORITE!!!!!) for this and that I'm always surprised at how many things are pushed on us... and mostly through sales. Last week I noticed one store had a big sign announcing a Black Friday type sale with 'LOW LOW LOW Prices!!!!' I was thinking ' IT'S AUGUST for pete's sake. They must really want a leg up on the Black Friday competition.' Things are pushed on us from every angle. More clothes, More Food, Bigger this, Bigger that, Better better better! I guess I'm just feeling that if I'm able to get rid of so much and purge I won't be seduced by the feeling of 'needing' more.

However, It's rather funny I'm talking about getting rid of things and going without because I'm in a position, with my art and creative endeavors, that I hope people want to add to their collections. oh boy! It's a fascinating struggle we are all in. Pushing against some forces while pulling at others.

Well, It's now September, the start of my favorite time of year! We are on the verge of sweater weather, pumpkin flavored and spiced EVERYTHING, Football, apple cider, colorful leaves, crisp mornings, the 3 best holidays all in a row.... I am one happy camper that can't wait to create during my favorite time of year! YAY!

Happy September my friends!

Monday, July 6, 2015


The past month I've been constantly working! I have a lot of opportunities and projects and apologize for allowing the blog to go to the wayside. I've been working on a lot of mini pieces for a gallery I've recently had the opportunity to become a part of. I haven't yet built up the amount of images I want to showcase to them, but I'm getting close.

I had been commissioned to paint 25 images for a wedding a while ago. A couple is getting married at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and want original artwork at each of the guests dinner tables...a different image at each table. I just finished everything today! And just in the nick of time. The wedding is next week!!!! It's been fun yet challenging. The images are small, 4x4 or 4x6 and they rang from ocean to jungle to african animals. I even painted a T-Rex, which is featured in the Academy of Sciences.

Then, in addition to attempting to get some pieces done for art fair season (which started this past weekend), I've been asked to hang for a solo exhibition next month! It will be at Steven Isley Jewelry again. :) Steve and Cindy asked that I exhibit some of my animals for the Art Walk in August! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! :D I can't help but grin ear to ear thinking about the wonderful opportunity. So, I've started working on some new wildlife pieces. I'm thinking some big game animals....and a maybe another bear! I'll also exhibit a few older pieces because I'm not sure how many quality pieces I can finish on such a tight deadline. Here is a Bison in progress. I have a LONG way to go but already liking the result!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Show today!

I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited about today. The opening at Stephen Isley Jewelry is later this afternoon/evening. I'll be exhibiting 5 river rock paintings. I have a fascination with little rocks in and around streams, rivers, and lakes. It has been fun exploring different facets of the rocks by painting them. Really studying the color, shape, and texture has made me look at them in a different way. Now I'll look at a rock and think "Ooooooooooooooooooooooooh! This would be a fun rock to paint"! haha!

The finished paintings look so wonderful in the frames. It's amazing how a frame can really enhance what is already there and just make it glow!

I'll be sure to take some photos of the event!

But here is newly finished piece that will be at the exhibit.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Birth of an Idea

I'm working on several pieces in hopes of having some solid work to exhibit for my opening in June. But on Thursday I went to Whitefish Gallery Nights and hung out with my friend Jessica (she's an incredible watercolorist too! Check out her work . We were chatting and I realized the deadline for the Montana Watercolor Society Show is creeping up on us! I ended up coming up with an idea of doing something in the vein of Mucha Art Nouveau and decided to try it out. So I stayed up late Thursday and worked on it any chance I could on Friday and this is what I have. I like where the idea is taking me, but I need to refine it a bit. I have so many images in mind to make a series out of this....Looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me this coming week! YEEEEEEEEEEE HAW!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Great Goings On!

Oh my! How time has passed....or more like gotten away from me. I've been painting a lot...but still not as much as I would like to. I'm going to have a solo exhibition at a local art spot in Whitefish for the 'Whitefish Gallery Nights, First Thursdays' in June. I'm going with my rock theme and have been working hard attempting to finish pieces for it. Hopefully, everything will be done in time! Fingers crossed.

I recently delivered a piece to the Dana Gallery in Missoula for their Icons of the West Exhibit! I had one of my new oils accepted. I FINALLY gave it a name..."Stillwater Summer".

The show opens Friday May 15th with an opening reception from 5-8. It stays up the rest of the month of May and all of June!

The last bit of great news is I'm going to be in a new gallery in Snohomish, Wa! YAY!!!!!!!!! I don't have all the details as of yet, but when I do (like name of gallery, location, etc) I'll let you know. I'm so very excited about this new opportunity!

Well, I must jet and attempt to finish some more paintings!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Western Art Week: Friends

One thing I love about doing art shows is the opportunity to see friends and to make friends. It's great speaking with people I don't know and getting to hear stories from them if we have the time to chat. But to see a familiar face in the crowd is like wrapping yourself up in a warm blanket!

There was one instance when I had been sitting for several minutes, drawing or writing something, and I looked up to make sure I wasn't ignoring anyone and I saw my friend and fellow MTWS member extraordinaire Margo Voermans walking toward me. I leaped off my chair and had a wonderful time catching up with her. She is going to be teaching a watercolor workshop in Missoula April 17 & 18 on abstract techniques. It sounds like it will be a fun spring workshop.

I also saw other people I've met before in Whitefish/Kalispell and also saw another MTWS board member. My friend Alger was in town for work to attend a conference. He owns a company on the east side of Glacier called Blackfeet Outfitters and gives guided fishing and hunting trips and jeep tours. He was such a nice friend and bought Amanda and I dinner from Chili's. Alger, you rock!

Amanda and Alger

However, the crown jewel of this post (and reason why I wrote it) is Amanda. She spent part of her vacation hanging out with me at Western Art Week. She helped me set up and take down the booth, watched my booth while I went to the bathroom or ate lunch/dinner, and shopped with me on the few chances I had. Gosh! She even made me lunch every day. She is a tremendous friend and I couldn't have done Western Art Week without her. Several summers ago she lived in Browning, MT while working at East Glacier. We took alternative way to Browning on the way home through a small town called Heart Butte. Driving from Heart Butte to Browning provided some incredible views...rolling hills with the sharp peaks of Glacier majestically rising behind. I sure enjoyed that little detour.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Western Art Week: Wild Bunch Art Show

I just returned from The Wild Bunch Art Show in Great Falls, MT. The show was part of Western Art Week, an event encompassing 10-13 shows where artists set up booths in convention centers or hotel rooms to exhibit their work, art auctions for 19th & 20th century original western art as well as contemporary artwork, and quick draws & demos of current western artists.

The Wild Bunch Art Show was held at the Hampton Inn Convention Center in Great Falls. There were 13 artists at the exhibit. It was 3 1/2 days of greeting guests and art enthusiasts and selling work to collectors new and old. I invested in parts to turn my outdoor art tent into an indoor one. I didn't have all the parts I needed to maximize my space but it worked, and looked good I dare say!

The great thing about this show was the quality of artwork and the variety. There was something for everyone! My neighbor, Jeff Renner, painted detailed images of wildlife in acrylic. Check out his site here!

My good friends Larry and LeAnn Ochsner actually recommended me to the show organizer and promoter! It was great to see them and their stunning jewelry. Click here to check it out!

Close by me was Pam Harr and Harvey Rattey, two bronze sculptures. They were the sweetest little couple! Pam even gave us all a pewter pronghorn (one of my fav animals) as a momento! Thanks Pam! You can check out their work here

Show organizer and promoter Nadine Pickthorn was so nice! She did amazing paintings on rocks and incorporated the rock into the image she was painting. It was really remarkable. I wish I would've gotten a picture them, but she sold them all (I took photos the last day). She also did paintings on traditional canvas and such. Check out her work here.

Connie Tveten (standing up in the last photo) Did incredible carvings of birds. They were pretty remarkable. There was so much wonderful art! Bridget Stiverson created incredible works of art with glass. Leith DeWeese was another watercolorist, Todd Mandeville did some pretty incredibly detailed western paintings, Andy Knudson painted on feathers and tree bark in addition to creating images in a more traditional manner (canvas, paper, etc). Jeff Hoff (the other Jeff!) Painted beautiful images of western wildlife and birds. And from my neck of the woods was Ron & Lynn of Lowery Bronze in Kalispell!

It was a wonderful time getting to see some old friends and to make new ones! I had such a wonderful experience and can't wait for next year! Thanks to everyone who helped make this such a wonderful event to be a part of!

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I had a follower ask if I was going to make a youtube video of my watercolor class that I taught last week. Unfortunately, I'm not quite ready to be taping a class. So I thought I would talk a little about what I mention in class. I'll plan on doing a series of these and focus on different aspects of how I paint and how you can approach your paintings too (if you would like to try something different).

So, this first part series will be on Materials.

The first is Paper. I know I've talked about paper a couple of times but this post is dedicated solely to it. You can get away with getting inexpensive brushes or even paint sometimes, but Paper is the most important thing you can have with a good watercolor piece. It is important not to cut corners on this. Fork out the money for the good stuff and it will save you a lot of headache, frustration, and heartache in the end. Also be sure you get the right type. There are 4 types of watercolor. The 3 main are Hot Press, Cold Press (most often used) and Rough Press. There is also a 4th, Soft Press.

Photo credit to

The difference between these are the hills and valleys. Hot press is smooth, and I liken it to being on ice skates. Your paint will glide around the paper and not really stay put if you are putting down a lot of washes. Rough Press is exactly like it sounds, Rough. There are high hills and deep valleys that will trap your paint and keep it snug in place if you do several washes. Each paper type gives a different look to a finished piece and some techniques are easier to do on one type of paper or not.

Now you can get your paper in various weights, 90lb, 140lb (standard), and 300lb. 90lb is very thin and 300lb is thick!

If you are using a lot of water, your paper will buckle (make giant 'bubbles' on your paper) unless you use a paper with a high weight. If you are using a lower weight paper you can wet your paper and stretch it. I never stretch my paper, but that is because I'm impatient. I want to paint the moment I have an idea/feel inspired. So, I deal with the buckling paper or I plan on using a higher weight paper if I know that I'm going to be doing a lot of washes.

There are a lot of brands out there and everyone has their own preference but I prefer Arches and Fabriano. Fabriano is the company that has soft press watercolor paper (it's kinda a combo between hot and cold and is really fun to work with). I like the way my paint flows on the paper from both of these brands...I just feel like I have more control of the paint when I use Arches or Fabriano. There are others out there that are pretty good too. There are SO many other brands out there. I like Cold Press better from Arches but prefer Rough Press from Fabriano and I like their soft press option. I hardly ever use Hot Press in my work. If someone gives me hot press I'll find a use for it, but I never choose to buy it. I love CP, RP, and SP.

If you want to experiment with different papers to see what you like better but don't want to spend $5+ a sheet I suggest finding sample packs. You can get them from Cheap Joes, Blick and other art supply companies.