Monday, February 29, 2016

Pickup at the Imnaha P.O.

"Pickup at the Imnaha P.O." is my newest miniature. This little colored pencil piece measures 3" x 2-5/8". (There's a "ghost penny" in the corner for scale). I'll be entering it in the upcoming miniatures show at the Parklane Gallery in May. This is a real, operating post office located in Inmaha, Oregon. With a population of about 14, they don't need a very big P.O! With the threat of many rural post offices being closed due to cost-cutting measures, the Imnaha P.O. has fortunately been spared, and a piece of "small town America" has been preserved.

My husband, Keith and I discovered this tiny town when we were on vacation last October in Joseph,Oregon. We spent a day exploring, driving eastward towards the Idaho border, just to see what we could see. Imnaha is at the end of the paved road, so we ventured further on up Hat Point Road...a scary, one-lane dirt road. What felt like mere inches from the edge of a steep drop-off, I tried hard not to look down!! 

At an elevation 8,000 feet, we had spectacular views of the valleys below and learned a bit of the history of the native peoples in this area, the Nez Perce Indians. About an hour later and safely back down at Imnaha, I took a parting shot of one of the only other establishments in town, the Imnaha Store and Tavern which has been around since 1904. So...with a store, a tavern, a post office, a beautiful Fall day (and a sense of adventure), what more do you need? 

Monday, January 11, 2016

A New Home Portrait

Delphi House - pen and ink with watercolor, 10 x 8

Last year, I was commissioned to create a portrait of this charming 100-year-old farmhouse. Located in the Olympia area, it was the home of my clients when their three boys were very young. Years later after moving away and their boys now adults, they wanted a portrait to give to each of their sons for Christmas.

Old family photos were provided for reference, and I was also able to find more photos of the home on Zillow as the home had recently been listed for sale. I created the original in pen and ink and watercolor, then had three giclee prints made of the artwork for my clients to give to their sons.

Now that Christmas is over, and the chance of them stumbling upon images of their Christmas gift is no longer a concern, I'm happy to share this latest home portrait on my gallery!

Monday, September 28, 2015

For Carol

Earlier this year, my mother asked me to create a portrait for her friend of 72 years, Carol. Carol's son, Jeff, passed away ten years ago and this portrait was a gift from my mother to Carol.

"In Memory of Jeff", 8 x 10

I felt so honored to work on this portrait of Jeff. I worked very hard to capture his likeness, but most of all his personality - gentle and caring, as I understood him to be. My reference photo was from his memorial program, so it was a challenge to see all of the details, being a photo of a photo. 

Carol's heartfelt reaction...tears, upon receiving the portrait unexpectedly in the mail touched my heart as well. Tears are always the greatest compliment of a portrait I have drawn, although it really tugs at my heart when it happens! It helps me to know though, that my art has made an impact, I've done my very best, and have done my job well.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Miniatures Shows

Over the past year, I've enjoyed trying my hand at painting miniatures. Taking advantage of my nearsighted vision (no glasses to paint!), I've been so pleased to have discovered my "niche" in the art world. Last fall, I shipped three miniatures off to Maryland for the 81st Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature, presented by The Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington D.C. (MPSGS)

"Monticello - Spring Storm", Watercolor
Two paintings were returned to me, one had sold. A collector from Pennsylvania purchased the above painting of Monticello. So exciting! Then earlier this year, three miniatures of mine were entered in the 2015 Annual Show of the Miniature Art Society of Florida. Two returned to me, one sold. Doubly exciting! 
"Valentine Bouquet", Colored Pencil
I was reluctant to part with this painting at first as it was a favorite and held some sentimental attachment. But realizing that I shouldn't hoard all of my paintings, but get them out there for the world to see, I sent it off to Florida. Now I'm so happy that this painting "spoke" to a collector and that they are enjoying it right now in their own home. 

Last night I attended the Parklane Gallery's 23rd Annual Juried International Miniature Show in Kirkland, WA. What a thrill for me to be presented with my first award for miniature painting! (As you can tell by my deliriously happy expression) This little painting below won 3rd place Honorable Mention. 

"Williamsburg Pleasure Garden", watercolor

I'm so inspired by the many beautiful, tiny paintings that so many talented miniaturists from around the globe have created. A challenging art form, paintings in "the little" never cease to inspire me and draw me in to their magical world. If you are in the area, stop by and visit the show at the Parklane Gallery in Kirkland which runs through May 31st. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Capt. Matt Peasley

"Capt. Matt Peasley", 7.5" x 11"

A few years ago when was in Coupeville on Whidbey Island for the day, I was excited to see the tallship "Hawaiian Chieftain", sister ship of the "Lady Washington", docked on the wharf. Bobbing in the water close-by was the longboat, "Capt. Matt Peasley".  Capt. Matt is a full-scale museum quality 18th-century reproduction vessel built by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority.

I snapped a photo and had been eagerly waiting to paint it. From my childhood in California growing up on sailboats and perhaps too some DNA from a New England naval sea captain on my family tree, I have a real love of boats and all things nautical. And this boat just needed to be painted!

"Capt. Matt Peasley" got it's name from a fictional character from the "Cappy Ricks" books first published 100 years ago. The fictional character had a real life counterpart - Captain Ralph Peasely who apparently was quite a famous and popular man in his day! Click here to read an entertaining 1930 newspaper article about Captain Ralph Peasley, and if you are interested in learning more about "Capt. Matt Peasley" the longboat, go to the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority website. It's worth a visit!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year!

I'm excited to share with you the opening of my online gallery through Daily! I'm in the process of loading artwork onto my gallery page, so check back every so often for more artwork. Pieces that are for sale will be available for purchase through PayPal with just a click.

Here is a new piece that I created for the Daily Paintworks "Furry Friends Challenge". It is a 6 x 6 portrait of my favorite resident model, Lulu. It is painted on 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper, first with watercolor, then with Pan pastels. Pan pastels are not in stick form like most pastels, but are finer, creamier pastels that comes in small pots that are applied with make-up type of sponges.

"Lulu Belle", 6 x 6, Pan pastel and watercolor
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working in a looser, more painterly style and I am eager to try painting more pieces in this method! You may not be a fan of fat cats, so I promise I will try to branch out into new subject matter. :)

Wishing you all the best in 2015!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Zoe and Me

It's been a little more than three weeks now since her passing, and thoughts and reminders of my Golden Retriever of almost 15 years are with me at every turn. At 4:00 in the afternoon, I'm thinking it's time to feed her...but then I remember. I walk through the front door after being out doing errands and expect to see her lying on the rug at the foot of the stairs...but then I remember.

A lot of remembering going on, like today. The sun was actually out after weeks of overcast skies and rain, so I went for a walk. I took the route that Zoe and I had traveled dozens, maybe even hundreds of times. All of a sudden, the tears come and I'm missing Zoe as my mind's eye can see her racing to her favorite spots to do her business. I suppose what makes her absence more noticeable for me today rather than last week, is the change in the air and the signs of spring poking up from the ground. Colorful, cheery crocus are suddenly gracing garden beds and the air has a definite tinge of springtime to it.

I've heard it said that it's not easy moving ahead through the seasons, missing the one whose absence you are grieving. Right now, I'm missing my walking companion of nearly 15 years, and remembering...I remember the fun of a wiggly new puppy in my arms, and watching my kids, who were really just puppies themselves, wrestle with her on the lawn, arms and legs, paws and fur all tumbled together, puppy barks and squeals of laughter.

I'm remembering playing in the snow with Zoe. Oh, how she loved snow!! Once our family went sledding up at the pass. We piled into the van afterwards and I poured hot cocoa out of the thermos into cups for the kids and handed out homemade gingerbread men. As we sat quietly snacking, Eric yelled out in dismay as he discovered that Zoe had just bitten the head off of his cookie. Oh, how Zoe loved food!! Especially when it was our food.

Zoe had joined us over the years for fun family adventures like car camping, sleeping in the tent with us. She loved those hot summer days when we'd take her to the lake. She would spring into the water, endlessly fetching the ball I would throw, never wanting to stop! As the kids grew up and were off on their own more, Zoe stayed my perpetual kid. She was my baking helper, licking the whipping cream off of beaters and giving the dirty dishes in the dishwasher an extra "rinse". Like I said, she loved food! And Zoe loved helping me out in the garden on warm, sunny days. Sometimes we would just lie in the grass together, me rubbing her tummy, looking up at the tall trees and the birds flitting above, past puffy white clouds. Those were the best times of all.

Age eventually turned her golden muzzle white, and in the past year her arthritis was beginning to show. It was a sad day for me when I realized that my walking buddy could no longer make it around the lake trail anymore. I could still take her for very short walks though, to the mailbox and back. Her eyes and ears may have not been as sharp as before, but her sense of smell seemed to have made up for that as she would stop at every rock and plant for a good, long sniff.

Knowing that the life span of a golden is around 11 years, the last three Christmases we had with her were extra special, thinking that each one would potentially be her last. But Zoe beat the odds and just kept right on going! She made it to age 14 on March 10th of last year, four days after Eric's 21st birthday. For a birthday treat, Eric made Zoe her own stack of banana pancakes. Two of her favorite foods together at the same time! She snarfed that meal up in no time, thoroughly enjoying it.

Without a doubt, I knew that Christmas 2013 would be the last one for our sweet old girl, as old age had caught up with her. Shortly after the new year, Zoe's health went into a rapid decline. Not able to walk without my assistance, and the loss of bladder control, I became a full-time nurse to my sweet pup, helping her in every way I could. Changing her doggie diapers, helping her down and up the deck stairs to go potty, and encouraging her to eat became my all-consuming activity.

Knowing that the end was near, I knew in my heart that I could not possibly take Zoe to the vet's office to have her put to sleep. Zoe was always so anxious going there, and would start to shiver in the car as she knew the route and where it would end up! I was determined that she should be able to die at home, feeling safe in her favorite spot with me there at her side. I looked online and discovered a vet in Edmonds, Dr. Sara, who provides an in-home pet euthanasia service. I contacted her beforehand, telling her about Zoe and asking a few questions. Dr. Sara seemed to be a very caring and compassionate person, and I felt comforted knowing she would come and take care of Zoe when the time came.

When I came downstairs on Saturday morning, February 1st, I knew that Zoe's time had finally come. Barely able to walk, Keith and I moved her onto her blanket by the couch and there she stayed for the next 24 hours. She seemed relieved to be on her blanket in her favorite spot, but she refused to eat her dog food. I could see in her eyes how tired she was, and that she was ready to go. I called Dr. Sara, and we arranged for her to come at 12:30 on Sunday the 2nd.

Dr. Sara arrived and was very caring, giving us the time we needed to say goodbye to Zoe. Needless to say, I was pretty sad. I had been dreading this day for years, but Dr. Sara made it as perfect as it could be for us with her kindness and compassion. She even made a clay paw print keepsake for us before taking Zoe's body away. I'm so grateful for Dr. Sara's services. Zoe left us peacefully, in familiar and safe surroundings. It was better for me too, to be able to grieve at home instead of a vet's office and also having the peace knowing that we gave Zoe the very best love and care possible when she needed it most.

Being loved by Zoe was one of the greatest blessings in my life. I especially cherish those sweet times when she would lean her head into my legs and poke her nose between my knees. I would bend down and wrap my arms around her, rubbing her tummy. Sometimes I thought she could stand that way for hours, just soaking up the love. If my back could hold out long enough, I think I would want to stand there too - a doggie hug to last forever. When I'm missing her, I think of all of the wonderful memories I have of her, and how grateful I am to have experienced the special bond we had together. Just Zoe and me.