Welcome to my art blog.

This is where you'll find some of the things I'm trying to accomplish... a little of this and that. Paintings, photography, collage and sewing...every artful endeavor helps me keep my sanity in this mixed up world.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Many Thanks

With the Thanksgiving Day festivities behind, I'm compelled to reflect on how very much I have to be thankful for. Twenty-two of the 24 members of the Dahl clan braved the snowy weather to gather and share food and fun and plans for midnight Black Friday shopping sprees. I'm thankful for the gainful employment that will prompt me to arise at 4:45 a.m. tomorrow morning. Needless to say, I won't be going on a midnight shopping spree tonight. My mother wasn't there, having passed away a decade ago, but her love and laughter was there amongst us. She is the reason we gather and enjoy each other's company as we do. I know she's smiling somewhere on the other side. Thanks Mom.

Friday, November 19, 2010

White Stuff

It's coming...again. Earlier and earlier every year it seems. Maybe we will see an ice age again. Did I mention I'm not a big fan of winter? I'm never sure if I've stashed away the right stuff. Dog food---check, cat food and litter----check. Candles, batteries, extra water, sunscreen...no, not sunscreen. Well, I'm off to try to get to my cubicle dwelling. It hasn't even started to snow, but I'm way ahead of the curve in worry.

This image is from a larger watercolor called "Sheep in the Woods".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Holiday in Full Swing

My first show of the holiday season was a great one. The Covenant Woman's show is always like a big reunion for me. Lots of familiar faces and catching up to do. This year I tried several new artful ventures and a couple of them did well. My collage fridge frames and my new line of photo cards were both a hit....wish I'd brought more of them. I also connected with more people interested in coming to an Art-Startz session and picked up a commission. Pretty nice for one day's work.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Going Home

Home. The word has a lot of meanings. Whether it's a real place or simply a vague imagining, I think it's a place we're all trying to get back to. I was going to post this yesterday in remembrance of Veteran's Day, but ran into computer issues. The sentiment is still the same the day after. A big thank you to all the people who have contributed to the freedom we enjoy in this country and around the world.

This piece was one in a series of collages I made using copies of my own artwork.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cat Naps

Is there anything more refreshing that a 15-minute catnap in the middle of a long afternoon? I've honed it to a fine art. Armed with a small pillow and my oven timer, I can fall asleep almost immediately and bolt wide awake 15 minutes later (with the help of the timer) feeling refreshed, ready to finish the afternoon. Of course, a strong cup of coffee and a Snickers bar is also a viable option.

This drawing, "Dream On", was done in charcoal and pastel on newsprint.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deep End

In over my head....that about sums it up. I've bitten off too much. Seven projects and they're all coming due by the end of the month.

When I made the artistic commitments, it all seemed so do-able... months to plan and get stuff ready, but it will all work out, I keep repeating to myself. It always does.

This painting is called "Deep End" and was painted with acrylic on board. This painting is sold.

Also, here's how it would look as a rubber stamp.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Way Things Work

There is a book out there (geared toward children, as I recall) called "The Way Things Work". It shows how mechanical things work. I wish there was some kind of a manual to show how things work.... or don't work in real life.... a manual that would convince you to .... get a college education.... marry well the first time...save your money for a rainy day...eat your veggies....but alas, everybody gets to write their own version.

This painting is titled "The Way Things Work" and was done in gouache on gold gessoed watercolor paper.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wild Abandon

Throwing caution to the wind, I've begun to chop up my stash of fabric (some of that stuff I've been saving to conquer boredom during a month-long snow storm). A series of mixed-matched little pillows with various sentiments seems like a good way to use up some of the fabric. I have no idea what I'll do with them after that. One thing I do know....art is messy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Last Minute Again

Once again, I'm feverishly preparing for several upcoming art venues. The Whimsical Rabbit and I will be participating in the Covenant Women's craft show on Saturday Nov. 13 from 9:00 to 4:00 and then Allied Arts will be starting on Nov. 19 through Dec. 24. They always sneak up on me. If you live close by and need directions, let me know. Also, I'm readying FIVE framed original paintings for the St. Joseph Hospital caregiver show in December. More details to come. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Please keep the natural disaster-striken people of Haiti in your thoughts. There are a lot of very special children at the Good Shepherd Orphange and elsewhere that could sure use a special measure of grace right now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting Rooms of LIfe

Sometimes it feels as though life is one big waiting room. I'm not very good at waiting. I moved from Seattle to escape the waiting, only to find my little hometown had grown considerably in the decade I'd been away. We have traffic now. One thing waiting is good for is daydreaming... until you find out the guy behind you in traffic is worse at waiting than you are.

This painting, entitled "Another Waiting Room" was done in gouache and watercolor on hot press watercolor paper.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto

The freedom to vote for our leaders is not a privilege to be taken lightly. It was bought with a huge price by those who have gone before us. Whether our favorite candidates win or lose, the democratic process is what makes America great. God bless America...and every other country as well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Art-Startz 2 Stars

Here they are...the brave souls who trusted me with the right side of their brains for the second in what I hope will be a long series of art adventures. Each participant brought a unique skill set to our time together, but I feel each was successful. Watercolor is like learning to drive a car with a manual transmission, you can read about it all day long, but until you get behind the wheel, you'll never know how much "gas to give it". You have to put a loaded paint brush to paper....over and over again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I hate to fly. There, I said it. It's not so much that I have a fear of flying...it's that I have a fear of falling. I'm good with other people traveling as long as I'm not related to them.

This is a little collage piece I did last winter. The original painting was acrylic on hardboard.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Little Traditions

Oops. Almost forgot to unwrap the little family pumpkins. If you grew up in our neighborhood in the 60's, you probably made one of your own. Being the eldest, I was the first to make one of these little heirlooms. It's not easy being a trendsetter. They clearly got better as each of us took our turn. By the time my youngest (at the time) brother made his pumpkin, I was in middle school and was sculpting little round owls out of plaster of Paris. I'm thinking the pumpkin on the right may have been influenced by my sculptures. Mom.... he's copying me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Creative Minds Think Alike

After several months on our respective "new jobs", I got together with two of my fellow outsourced coworkers this afternoon. We had spent six months in a "project pool" as compensation for being outsourced and it was during that time we forged a special creative bond. The "pool" project was monotonous (putting it kindly)and we soon found that no one in the corporation was terribly concerned about how much of the project we completed. (It reminded me a bit of that scene in Dances with Wolves where Kevin Costner is sent off to an abandoned outpost by a suicidal superior officer. You've been sent on a mission, but no one cares whether you accomplish it. Weird feeling.) We found creative ways to cope. Etsy, Apartment Therapy, and Stampington magazine reviews were daily escapes. Imagine our surprise to discover these "perks" weren't built into our new jobs. How did our new coworkers survive without these therapies? we asked ourselves. Vowing to hold fast to our artful natures, refusing to succumb to corporate standardization in our inner beings, we've made a pact to meet frequently at Tully's Coffee for some serious rejuvenation.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Care Giver Art Exhibit

I just received notification from the art committee at St. Joseph Hospital here in Bellingham that my work has been chosen to be included in the upcoming Care Giver Art Exhibit. I'm honored to be selected by the distinguished jurors. I submitted several images, so it remains to be seen which one they picked. I've never been an art show juror, but I can imagine it's a huge task to put together a collection of paintings that look good together. For the Northwest Watercolor Society shows, I've been told that there are sometimes 500 submissions and less than 100 paintings chosen for the show. An artist really has to calculate what to paint that will catch the juror's attention while they're flying through those slides at break-neck speed. This image is one of the four I submitted.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creature of Habit

It's not something I'm terribly proud of.... this resistance to progress technologically. I blame it on my DNA. I'm not wired to pick up a new techno gadget and be heard to say "How cool is that", but more likely to mutter..."What is this thing?". I wandered up and down the gadget aisles at Fred Meyer the other night... just to see what had been invented while I wasn't paying attention. This photo was taken with my ancient Minolta film camera. I'm tempted to start looking for yet another camera body for it on Ebay before I frustrate myself with a newer digital camera.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fade to White

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had the privilege of taking a photography workshop from Brooke Gatterman of Roxsey Photography this past weekend. Very fun and I learned so much. First I learned that I need a new digital camera...which I pretty much knew before I went. I brought along my ancient Minolta X-700 film camera with my beloved 28-200 mm Tokina lens just in case. I did actually use it. The adjustments of shutter speed, ISO and whatever that other thing is you fiddle with... oh yeah f-stops, were actually easier to visualize with my old camera.

So much to know, so few brain cells with which to learn.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting a Grip

Being a creative type, I'm always on an artistic tangent and with each tangent comes a boat-load of supplies. Once again this year, I will resolve to use up my supplies so I can rid myself of the guilt of not using up my supplies. I think I'm fearful of getting snowed in for a month and running out of things with which to entertain myself....like that's going to happen.

This painting was done using gouache, watercolor and acrylic on gold-gessoed illustration board.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Horse of Another Color

With winter drawing nearer, my mind wanders to the thought of becoming a snow-bird, those enviable individuals who spend their winters in mild climates and venture up north when the threat of snow and Northeasters has passed. I imagine what it would be like to spend Christmas in Taos or Santa Fe. I know they get snow too, but somehow snow falling on adobe seems way more artful than snow falling on composite roofing.

This painting, "Horse of Another Color" was done with oil bar on metallic gold gessoed illustration board.

This painting is sold.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Like Ships in the Night

It seems the older I get, the more I see people who bear a vague resemblance to someone I've known in my past. I did more mystery solving in my younger years, trying to make connections with people, and would strike up a conversation to see if there was a reason they looked familiar. I'm older and wiser. Experience has taught me that some acquaintances are best left unrenewed. So they pass, like ships in the night.

This painting, titled "Ships in the Night", was done with oil bar on metallic gold gessoed illustration board.

Morning Jump-Start

I'm not sure which foreign country is due the credit for the discovery of coffee, but I'm eternally grateful for their sharing of it with the world. It is truly a remarkable thing...and legal. I do partake of a good cup of tea from time to time, but coffee makes my world go round. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we seem to be famous for making coffee part of our culture. That works for me. Woods Coffee is a little coffee company that seems to be springing up all over our county and probably beyond. Their decor is so Pacific Northwest and their coffee is great.

This is a little watercolor painting of mine that I scanned and altered using a couple of Photoshop Elements filters.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Change in the Weather

It was inevitable. After all, it's nearing the end of October. We've enjoyed some wonderful sunny days, but now it looks like a change has come. Speaking of change, I managed to find enough of it at the bottom of my purse to pay for parking so that I could see the "1934: A New Deal For Artists" at the Lightcatcher today. The paintings were wonderful! Note to Bellinghamsters: There are tours for nonmembers. Check into it.

This is a watercolor painting I did utilizing a wet-into-wet technique, using various things like dry paper towels and a plastic credit card to create texture.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flying South

I'm pretty happy with the flock of my greeting cards that has just been shipped down to the Frye Museum's gift shop in Seattle, among them this image, "Raven Calls the Morning". If you're in the Seattle area, check out the Frye....and buy one of my cards.

This painting was done in acrylic treated like watercolor, painted on 140# hot-press watercolor paper.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Body Art

While browsing my photo files for something to share, I ran across this image and I was reminded of the fellow who visited my booth at the farmer's market several weeks in a row asking if I would grant him permission to use one of my designs as a tattoo. I told him that I was not a big fan of tattoos actually. They remind me of that old Rod Steiger movie "The Illustrated Man" in which his character had managed to tattoo EVERY inch of his body with illustrations that became his reality. I eventually acquiesced and granted the gentleman permission to tattoo my painting on his body....what part, I never found out. To date, he has not returned to the market to show me the results. I hope it worked out to his satisfaction.

This painting was done using Oilbar on metallic gold gessoed hardboard (Masonite).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Good Stories

When I was growing up my mother would read to me. Not just at bedtime, but anytime we had a few minutes to spare. Looking back, I think it must have been something she loved to do. She would read me stories like Secret Garden complete with the cockney accent. Have you ever tried to read with an accent? Not easy. I loved the stories. There weren't a lot of pictures, but my mind became filled with visual images and the warm memory lasts to this day. I had the good fortune of being invited to a Stuart McLean Vinyl Cafe event last night at WWU here in Bellingham. The stories he wove were wonderful and reminded me so much of those stories with my mother.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Contemplating Crows' Feet. This is the third of three paintings that earned me my signature member status with the NW Watercolor Society a few years back. The judge for the show was Carla O'Connor, of whom I am a huge fan. The catalyst for the painting was turning 50 and coming to terms with my age. I refuse to try to out-run it. There's actually something quite comforting in living "below the radar".

This painting was done using gouache, watercolor and water-soluable crayons on metallic gold gessoed 140-pound hot press watercolor paper.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meet Darth

He is my little "rescue" dog. I rescued my grandchildren from him. He was advertised as a teacup Pomeranian... no more than a couple of pounds...such a darling little fuzz ball. Darth has morphed into a 9-pound dust bunny with fangs. He is 100% alert. Nothing moves in our house without Darth's approval. He is systematically eating my couch, long sections of duct tape have disappeared....stray socks...plastic containers of all sizes. I've been accused of altering his personality by naming him Darth.... uh.. I don't think so. This little guy marches to a different drummer... but he's growing on me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Periwinkle Day

When I was much younger, I used to describe my feelings in odd ways. Maybe I was some kind of over-the-top, in-touch-with-my-inner-poet little person back then. I remember telling my mother at one point that I felt like an "R". I have no clear recollection of what that meant. I think it was synonymous with feeling blah - borderline sad - close to tears maybe. Today was a periwinkle day -- not quite a blue day, but definitely not a pink day. Come to think of it, I felt like an "R".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


He was fast asleep when I snapped this picture. His hands were so little, but I couldn't help but wonder what those hands would someday accomplish. Would he hold a paint brush and make paintings, would he throw a football or would he hold his only child's hand in his? It will be exciting to watch the changes...that zip by at the speed of life.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Up with ... Monday

Well, it's Monday again. There sure seem to be a lot of Mondays in my week sometimes. It was different when I was a swing shift person, when it was almost Tuesday before I started my work week, but those were unique years. Reality is the 5:00 a.m. alarm clock, but I'm thankful to have a reason to get up that early. Reality is using my half-hour lunch to make greeting cards to get ready for fall/Christmas shows, trying to be artfully productive within any available morsel of time. I once read a book written by a guy who developed a way to paint watercolors in the driver's seat of his car (while it was parked, of course). Now that is artful determination. Happy Monday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It started in high school, this looking down at my feet thing. It was all those scary boys that lined up along the lockers... what was that about? I felt like I was running the gauntlet passing by those guys, half expecting them to hold up a series of cards numbered 1-10. Sends chills up my spine to this day, 30 some years later. But I digress. Looking down at my feet last fall paid off big time in leaf pictures. I started looking for shallow puddles of water where spontaneous compositions had gathered. When I paint this, I think it will be a mixed media piece with acrylic treated like watercolor and an oil bar layer for the reflections.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin and Stars

I don't know...it's just me, but I like my pumpkins uncarved. They last so much longer that way. No squishy stuff to deal with. I also love polka dots and stars. The checkered-star floor cloth is one I did years ago. It's showing its age. I was going to repaint it, but I kind of like the worn look of it. It matches the rest of my treasures.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Art-Startz Revisited

Art-Startz 2 has tentatively been scheduled for October 30. I'm really looking forward to introducing our merry band of watercolor enthusiasts to the wonderful world of SHAPES. We'll be playing with simple fruit shapes and work to create compositions that will be the basis for our paintings. We'll even throw a little salt around just for fun.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Everlasting...well, almost

I'm very excited about a photography workshop I'm going to be taking later this month from Brooke Gatterman of Roxsey Photography. She does phenomenal work and I'm sure we're all hoping her talent and knowledge of pixels and shutter speed will magically transfer to us. You can check out her work at roxseyphotography.com.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

After a hectic summer, I stole a couple of hours this weekend to work in my yard. I used to have time to garden and it was so therapeutic to get outside and putter around. My back wasn't too happy about the idea, but I pressed on. The 5 acres of what I call "elephant grass" (because it grows 10 feet tall if allowed to) was pressing in on all sides, but with my trusty weed-eater, I found the little patio of pavers I created several years ago, just before it started to rain. This aqua wooden box was certainly feeling neglected, but I love weathered surfaces and grabbed some of the Gravensteins I had picked earlier in the year and created a still life. The cloudy weather was the perfect condition for good pictures and gardening.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Classy Class

Here they are, the faithful friends who ventured out for the first Art-Startz session. The watercolor paintings they produced were so wonderful. They were complete novices and were able to follow my example to complete unique paintings filled with expression and their own creative instincts. When they took the masking tape off, they were amazed at what a difference the crisp white border made in their paintings. Session two coming soon.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On a Lighter Note

For better or worse, I just finished a little "art-startz" of my own. How quickly my mind becomes lazy and I seem to forget how to paint.... as if I ever really knew before. I find that if I just sit down and "niggle" (translated to mean: apply paint to a given surface in a semi-orderly fashion), something will appear on the paper, which I'll either love or hate. Like they say, "It's easier to turn a moving vehicle." I just have to keep reminding myself to be brave enough to see what happens and MOVE.

Woodland Fairies

They grow up so fast. You can try to hold the moments in your heart, but they slip away. I fear this is a generation of children being abandoned by parents preoccupied with the technology of the day.... techno abandonment, I call it. In my generation, it was the father who sat behind the daily newspaper and never uttered an encouraging word to his children for years. Now it's parents who are texting, talking on cell phones or surfing the internet. There will be a price to pay for this "advancement". Please, look your children and grandchildren in the eyes and talk to them. They miss you, even though you're standing right next to them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Keeping it simple

Coming off a week's vacation, during which I did more of what I usually do without the constraints of the 5:00 a.m. alarm clock, I feel refreshed and ready to paint up a storm. But alas, now I have to go back to work and time wrangling will be the order of the day. I'm not sure this little acrylic painting is done, but it's started, which is the real cool part.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saving the Best for Last

Personally, I think fall is the most colorful season of the four. Sure, summer has it's moments, but autumn seems to pull out all the stops before everything falls asleep... for what seems like forever. Or maybe it's because orange and golden-yellow are such brilliant colors that pink and green pale by comparison. Just speculating here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One of my favorite aspects of designing a painting is playing with shapes and the shapes that define those shapes (negative space). These peppers are a perfect example of the types of compositions that grab my attention. I can look right past the similar, almost monotonous shapes and get caught up in the black shapes between the peppers. Weird, I know.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Art-Startz Becomes a Reality

Tomorrow night, 5 brave friends and I will gather to explore some creative possibilities that I'm calling Art-Startz. At the urging of a couple of close friends, I have been imagining a way to coax others along the path of creativity. Believing that art has to be lived and cannot be taught, I see myself as a tour guide rather than a teacher. My own creative journey has been through years of self-experimentation, books and workshops. I would have been helped greatly by having a tour guide along my creative path, a path I nearly abandoned out of frustration. I'm very excited to see what grows from this special night.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's coming. The leaves are starting to turn. As a kid, fall held an air of excitement, once the disappointment over the end of summer had passed. It was a chance to start again...reinvent myself, if possible. I don't think I ever did succeed at becoming someone new, but hope sprung eternal.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apple a Day

Remember when about the only kind of apple you could find in the store was a Delicious--take your pick--red or yellow. I usually picked the yellow ones because they were less mushy. I so looked forward to September when the Gravensteins were ripe. Now that the stores are packed with ten different kinds of apples, Fujis are my apple of choice. What a great invention, the apple.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A pear is a pear is a pear

Ever notice how pears always look like pears? If you say something is "pear shaped", people always know the shape you're describing. I love to paint pears because they always look like pears....no awkward questions to answer, like "What is it?".