Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mobile Museum of Art

I am very happy with this piece featuring my employer for the last 3 weeks! The museum is always a good painting to work on with the children in their watercolor class. These kid were ranging in age from 5 to 12 and they all enjoyed the 'plein aire'. Thaat is, if you remove the bugs, the heat, the lack of a bathroom facility outside, and I did not bring extra water for them to drink. We all sat on the driveway in front of the museum with some of the kids worrying that a car might come through the drive. I reassured them that we all were keeping a watchful eye for traffic. I also pointed out to them that the museum did not open until 10 am and we were out there at 8 am! All the 'bugs' aside, the paintings all turned out and everyone went home with a good learning experience. I always have an enjoyable time teaching at the Mobile Museum of Art and never fail to learn something about myself, a new technique, or happy giggling children in general.

Shrimp & Straws~Fridays entry

The Mobile Museum has certainly stretched my imagination and art skills this past week. I have never taught a full day before and I have to admit, it is exhausting! My hat is off to the teachers of the world~no matter what you teach!
I am very pleased with this project completed with the children in the watercolor wonders class. They learned about, transfering an image to paper, outlining with a permanent marker, and then the fun part, color! We took clear water and blew through the straws to make the 'seaweed' and then dropped color into the water on the paper. Some of them also added the drops of color as well. I don't know why, but this is one of my favorite projects of the entire week. I guess it is the discoveries made by the children this past week as well as the happy colors!
I did not enter this one yesterday on the blog because of my LONG day. I left the house at 6:45am and finally dragged myself home at 9:45pm after teaching adults in Daphne. It made for a long, fulfilling, exhausting, fun filled day! I love my job as an artist!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A view from the Gazebo Thursday July 28

Finally, one that was actually completed on the proper day and posted to the blog. For those of you that are followers, I apologize for not being more prompt in posting. The paintings are being completed, just not the blogs that go with them!
This painting was done in the drawing class. We moved out to the gazebo in the rain and getting them out of the classroom. I love painting "en plein aire"! We laid down our pictures using a sketch and wash pencil and then wet them with our brushes to blend. The volunteer helpers have been the most fascinated with the watercolor pencils this week that I bought on sale at Michaels at 90 percent off! The children have used them as well, in watercolor class, drawing class, and in their journals.
I was quite pleased with this picture while I was doing it, and very happy with the results. One of the volunteers was enchanted with watching me work on it as were several of the children. They seemed as though they thought the picture from beneath my hand was almost magical in it's appearance on the paper. I am constantly explaining to them all that you have to keep drawing to get better at doing the best you possibly can. You can't just expect to pick up a pencil and have great art come from it! Art is a lot of work with only a few pieces completed that make you truly happy. I am delighted to encourage them all to be better at what they do, even if they don't think they are "good" at it! You only get "good" by practice, practice, practice and then practice some more!

Turtles are always a favorite! Wednesday July 27

The kids enjoyed the wet into wet this week using my favorite subject. We worked the background first, letting it dry completely before painting the turtle. The children are all showing off their works and I will be curious to see which ones they pick for the art show on Friday.

Channeling Van Gogh Tuesday July 26th

Acrylic on canvas in an Impressionistic style. We followed Van Gogh's lead to work on this one. The children in this class range in age from 5 to 12 and have been interesting to say the least. They all have wonderful personalities and some are quite gifted in art as well. I have enjoyed them all, although I was a little afraid when asked if a baby sister could join the group. Turns out, she is one of the most talented and well behaved. She is also extremely attentive to everything I do and follows it to the letter! I have really enjoyed teaching this class this week!
"Channeling Van Gogh" 11 x 14 Acrylic on canvas

Bubbling Crab Monday July 25th

This project was enjoyed by the children at the Museum this week. It involved blowing bubbles into watercolor and popping them with their papers. All of the kids enjoyed this bit of fun and each did several pieces of paper. We added the crab the following day.
This week has been fun for me, although taxing! I have been there for a full day from 8 am~5pm and it has been a challenge. I have to get up with Christopher at 5:30 in order to wake up, read the paper, and walk the dogs before making the bed, lunch and out the door before 7 am! Our days have included watercolors, impressionistic Acrylics, Drawing, and Handmade Journals. We have completed several projects and have all had a grand time although freezing to death! (The museum this week has been extremely cold!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011


A different kind of turtle that is! This little guy was marching towards the parking lot at the Mobile Museum of Art. The teens I was teaching observed his course of action and took their own. Mark picked him up before I could stop him and this resulted in the turtle becoming clammed up tightly into his shell. I shooed all the kids away and proceeded to wait, camera in hand. Gradually, slowly the shell opened up and a tenetive nose poked out. After several seconds, the shell opened more and a neck telescoped into position. Keeping a wary eye on me, the turtle finally realized I was not moving and decided to beat a hasty retreat. It rapidly moved under the tree and froze into position, thinking it was invisible in the grass, weeds, and cypress tree knees. I snapped several shots and went back to painting with the class. We painted this on Friday of our week together. We used the photo of the turtle along with live painting to portray our new little friend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Across the Bridge

This painting was much anticipated by the children as we went on a walk to get to this vantage point. Leaving 10 minutes into class, we hiked across the bridge to the opposite side of the lake. Our viewpoint now looked back toward the museum. We settled in under one of the covered picnic areas and got into the watercolor pencils and paints. The kids learned a lot this week about watercolor painting, "En Plein Aire", and drawing in general. By the end of the week, they all were mixing greens instead of simply using the Pthalo Green on their pallette. They were very focused on this day and we all had good work to show for our labors.
We were even visited by a gentleman that was bike riding and taking a break from the heat. He said I hope I am not disturbing you and I replied that we all knew that in painting in the fresh air could mean people would come talk to us while we were working. I really love this part of painting outside and this is the reason I paint at shows when we travel. I enjoy interaction with the public, and they get to see that I really do paint what is hanging on my walls at the many shows.

The View from the Gazebo

"The View from the Gazebo" was painted while sitting beneath the cool shade offered under the gazebo's large vaulted ceiling. The gazebo is located behind the Mobile Museum of Art and is situated on the walking trail. The kids in the class this past week were remarkably attentive and very focused on their paintings while they were in progress. Not once did I hear how hot it was, which surprised me a great deal as the heat indexes were in the 100's! I was delighted to work with them and am delighted to report they all said they would take the class again! I think we have found a winner in the teenage class category. I know I look forward to teaching this class next year.

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Lake, many views

Our Municipal park at the Mobile Museum of art has many areas suitable for Plein Air painting. These views were taken from the balcony outside the main hall of the museum. Our class is from 8-10 and we walked around from the Education Department to the balcony on the outside of the building. Spliting our picture into quarters gave the children many chances at quick sketches and rapid paintings. I emphasize to them that these are not finished works of art, but a platform from which to build better paintings. Painting this week has been fun and interesting, seeing the world through their eyes and brushes. Thanks to my students, Raven , Jared, Mark, and Jamie for a great week!

The Painter Statue

This week finds me teaching at the Mobile Museum of Art. We are really all enjoying the art of painting "Plein Air". Plein Air is literally translated to mean in "Fresh Air" and we are soaking up loads of it. We painted in the Gazebo while overlooking the lake on the first day and the statue was our first subject. Each student has improved this week by leaps and bounds. They all seemed to have taken to this art form like the many ducks on the lake take to water. I am certain that we will be repeating this class next year. We should all take advantage of our local parks, grab our easels, paints and brushes and get out to work in the great outdoors. However, if it is summer in the south, you'd better add a hat, sun and bug screen, and water, lots of water!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Clown

I never will get tired of painting turtles so I hope you will endure yet another version. I love this guy and am working on one in color for the 100 days series. Turtles always seem to make me smile and this one is no exception. He seems to be waving Hello! Also, this is another sepia of course, as these are by far my best sellers on the coast! This will catch me up on the 100 days for now. I NEVER want to be this far behind again! The paintings are there and finished, it is just the photographing, cropping, loading, and blogging that seem to be the problem! Oh yeah! and late nights too!

Turtles will win!

Turtles will win, but only if we let them! Children always love to paint turtles and they will forever be in my portfolio. Yet another Painting created at Gross Out Camp. The children were very excited I am very concerned about the plight of our sea turtles since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010. We keep getting reassurances that everything is okay, but I still wonder.........what ever happened to all that oil and dispersants?
Turtles will win! Watercolor on Paper

Straw Painting

Watercolors revisted in my studio make for an interesting class for the 8 & up children at Gross Out Camp held at 5 Rivers this week. The technique is simple, clear water, add color and blow! You get very interesting patterns and uncontrollable happy accidents. The kids love to do this one and I probably will repeat it at the Mobile Museum of Art next week

Here Lizard Lizard!

More from the Mobile Museum classes taught last week. This post should have been for Saturday, but the weekend absolutely got away with me! Combine that with computer problems and oh well, here I am on Tuesday catching up again! This lizard was fun to paint with the Trompe L'Oeil class. Their lizards were much more colorful, with mine leaning toward the natural looking one. (Once a realist~always a realist)
I am also missing one of the 100 days paintings because I took it to the Fairhope Connections Gallery in Orange Beach before I photographed it! It was for the series of Turtles requested for a condo at the beach. Rats!
Here Lizard Lizard 11 x14

Trompe L'Oeil Mobile Museum of Art

Trompe L'Oeil ~the victorian art of "deceive the eye" I really enjoy challenges and this was no exception. Teaching 12 year olds and up the concepts of Trompe L'oeil stretched my brain and brush to the limits. Some really listened, some of them really just did not get it at all! They all seemed to enjoy painting and that is what really matters isn't it?
The Mobile Museum of Art has been my summer teaching place for several years now. I really have a great time with the kids and love to see their faces light up when they really "get it".
Trompe L'Oeil 16 x 20

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Relaxing..............this is what I am wishing I was doing right now. I have a great deal of tension this evening because of the drive home.
The idiot that designed our interstate tunnel on I-10 really should re-visit his degree in engineering. It was designed to come into the George Wallace Tunnel at a sharp curve after it has a lane of merge traffic that ends rather abruptly on the left side, then has downtown traffic feeding in from the right. There is also a speed limit of 40 mph with flashing lights telling you if you are going too fast. Adding to this confusion are the drivers that ignore the speed limit of 40 mph and finding themselves head to head with the curve coming into the tunnel. Jammed up you find eighteen wheelers, campers,extremely large personal trucks, work vehicles, and cars with one person just trying to get home in 5 o'clock traffic. Rare is the week that we don't hear of a wreck either East or West bound. This week found a cattle truck overturned at 10 pm that was still wrecking havoc in the morning rush hour the following day! I came upon the usual traffic jam this evening. Feeling rather smug I casually did what a lot of locals do, I got off I-10 to Canal planning to go through the Bankhead tunnel in the middle of downtown.
This was the first fatal error to my timely arrival at home. I got off
I-10 at about 5:20 getting onto Jackson to go to Government and thus the Bankhead tunnel. I found myself instead in a parking lot! The combination of traffic, stop sign, and traffic lights proved to me I should have stayed on the I-10 bayway. After no less than 25 minutes of delay, I finally found my way into the Bankhead tunnel and onto the causeway which was also backed up!
Just as I merged into traffic, lights and bells went off on the control panel in my PT Cruiser. The temperature was dangerously high and I pulled over as rapidly was safely possible, to a part of the road that intersected an oncoming ramp and the main road. I turned off the car, called my husband, hoping to find him on the way home. Instead I found him at home with our dogs in Fairhope (about 18 miles away!) I am hot, tired from teaching all day, and am now sitting on the side of the road with traffic whizzing by at dizzying speeds. He advised opening the hood, and said he was on the way. I opened the hood to find the overspill from the radiator literally boiling inside! There clearly was no adding water to this one at this time. I proceeded to sit and wait about 25 minutes for the engine to cool off. Meanwhile, A.S.A.P. (Alabama Assistance Patrol) with an wonderful young man named Daniel came to my rescue. He had the much needed water and after he added it, we turned over the motor and everything seemed fine. We both were examining belts to see what we could see and found no visible shredding. Chris then showed up and followed me home and my car's temperature never budged from the halfway point. Both of us breathed a sigh of relief, I went home and my lovely husband of 30 plus years bought dinner at the grocery store and brought it home. I finally cooled off from the 100 degree heat index and am now enjoying a glass of wine. Now, if only the thunderstorm overhead would stop so I could take a shower! Relaxing 10 x 20 $125.00

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just playing Catch up! Starfish and Queen Conch

Two days later and two paintings down! Sepias are still my hands on favorite and by far my best sellers. This week is tough, trying to deal with getting in the groove of teaching. While teaching tonight, I painted another turtle that I will post tomorrow after I photograph him. I love painting shells and still have very fond memories of my parents collecting shells in the Phillipines during the mid sixties. Starfish and Queen Conch, 12 x 12 $125.00 each

Just swimming along

Ever have one of "those" weeks? I am teaching this week at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Al from 8~12 Mon-Fri. Because of another instructor not being available to teach I am delighted to be teaching in the afternoons too from 1-5! This has thrown off the whole week because I expected to be home in the afternoons. Another instructor had to stand in today because I was slready obligated to another art camp on Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday began with an overturned truck on the freeway and traffic delays keeping me from getting to the museum on time. The commute was twice as long as normal! Add to that, teaching at night and my life is just crazy right now. Thank God for a very understanding husband and dogs that behave while I am gone during the day.
Just swimming along is another in a series of turtles for a commission. I really enjoy painting them, and don't think I'll ever get tired of swimming with the sea life. Acrylic on canvas 10 x 20 $125.00

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sailfish Play

I am never ceased to be amazed while watching animals at play. They all seem to do it, we just have to slow down enough to watch them ourselves. Anyone who has stopped to watch puppies or kittens at play has an endless source of joy. Just seeing them makes us smile. I love to watch my "girls" (3 dachshunds) in the backyard when they start to romp and chase. It usually starts with one just getting the "look" and suddenly, the jump, bite, and cut to the chase! They tear through the yard grinning from ear to ear, tougues flapping in the wind created by their sudden burst of energy. Take the time to watch, you are going to giggle a little. (Sometimes quite a lot) We had a sheltie that would play with our dachshunds when they were puppies. Soon the puppy would figure out that by getting under the ottoman, they could ambush the older dog.
When I teach a class, I encourage my students to play. This includes my adults too! Play means they must go home and in their favorite medium, experiment, push, have fun. I am delighted when students come back to the next class and show off their "fun" time. They know it will not be judged as being "art" or a finished piece. They do discover though that in having fun they are learning the medium and it's limits! They also sometimes discover that there are limits to what they are working with at the time. We all need to play,even if we are artists already! We can push ourselves to go into another medium and experiment~but most of all~PLAY!
Sailfish Play, 24 x 24 deep edge canvas, $295.00

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wise beyond his years

Turtles are really a favorite of mine to paint. The species does not matter, Green, Loggerhead, Kemps Ridley have managed to swim into my studio at one point or another. I am really starting to get into the groove now of daily painting. This series promises to have a lot of beauty and many memories to write about!
The sepia series proved itself again this week by showing well and selling at LODA Artwalk in Mobile. I painted live and also sold at the same time. I am still so grateful to make a living as an artist, combining galleries, outdoor shows, and teaching into an income. Next week I will be teaching at the Mobile Museum of Art and I am excited. I love to see children and sometimes the adults that sneak into my classes have the "aha" moments. The light really begins to shine in these classes and they force me into a new way of thinking and growing myself! I can't wait to see what the new week brings, in both paintings and art created in the classes.
"Wise beyond his years" 24 x 36 $395.00

Friday, July 8, 2011

Magical Pair

Magical Pair is two green turtles swimming side by side. This painting is a special request from someone down in Orange Beach wanting a painting for their condo. It measures 20 x 40 and is my husband Chris's first real foray into making stretcher bars custom for a painting. He did a beautiful job and I am so grateful for a spouse that is both supportive and understanding in my still growing art business. I don't think I will ever get tired of painting turtles, their beauty and grace is just awe inspiring. I had a turtle turn around, come back and look hard at me through the glass at the aquarium in Tampa and it just took my breath away.
I have a special connection with turtles since I had an encounter while living in the Phillipines. My parents were night diving, (well my father was, my mother is respectful of the sharks!) My mother told me to go to bed on the beach. This was easier said than done as there was a burning barrel on the beach that was quite bright with a large fire. My "bed" was a towel on the sand under a parachute attached to the side of the cliff. I tried desperately to drift off with my back to the fire. I kept feeling sand getting flipped on me and I asked them to please stop! This happened again and again and I finally turned over and realized there was a turtle in the tent with me building a nest! Her focus was completely on her task at hand and I ran screaming from the tent breathlessly telling my mother what was happening. The turtle was allowed to finish her matronly duties and we moved the "tent" to another spot on the beach away from the nest. Hence the connection and love I have for all turtles. "Magical Pair" 20 x 40 acrylic on canvas $395.00

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I spent some time (about two years) in the Phillipines with my parents. I have wonderful memories from there that are very vivid and still influence my artwork today. I have a great love of the sea as a result of this trip overseas because we spent many happy hours there. I remember most of all the dive trips my parents took along with our naval friends after riding for some time on the Air Forces dark blue bus from the base. It had no air conditioning and the trips were uncomfortable because the bus seemed to have virtually no shocks to speak of. We would spend long days there at the beach, with my parents sometimes going on night dives. ( My mother ceased this practice though, she did'nt like not seeing the sharks in the dark until they loomed upon her in the gloom and inky blackness.) My parents became quite the shell collectors, bringing home a vast collection of beautiful shells that were carefully placed in the ant bed near our house. The ants did a great job of cleaning the shell of all the animals left inside leaving the "doors" that some of the shells had. My parents carefully identified them and they may still have these meticulously hand printed labels taped to their undersides. The Nautilus was one of these shells I think (the box is still in the attic and some day I will find them to put them back on display) Nautilus creatures are quite the most beautiful and most ugly at the same time. They evoke in me a certain creepiness that comes from 20,000 leagues under the sea. "Nautilus" 12x12 acrylic on canva $85.00

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Great Blue

Great Blue came about because of our trip to the keys in May. We love to camp in our teardrop camper and kayak the local waterways when we travel. We stayed at Curry Hammock State Park Campground in the keys. Our view from the back of the site was the waters of the Gulf Stream. While picturesque, it also had a "ahem" lovely smell from the decaying seaweed washed ashore. The front of our site was near the bath house. The bath house was unique as it had composting toilets and solar power to run the whole operation. It also had a neat device to allow the rangers to lower and lock down the solar panels in case of an impending storm.

One morning, my husband Chris and I decided to launch our kayak in the shallow water and set out for an adventure. We had no idea where we were going, but we hugged the shoreline and I photographed the birds and iguanas along the way. We did not really have any map to indicate which key was which so we just kept turning to the right in hopes of coming back to where we started. We came upon a hamlet and observed a fellow paddler coming out so we decided to investigate. Once in the hammock we were virtually surrounded by mangrove swamps and did not see an exit. Hugging the coast, we finally found a faded sign that pointed into the mangroves. Feeling a sense of adventure, we glided into the cool darkness. I was quite captivated by the beauty of the trees, their fantastic root systems and the play of light filtering through the leaves. The trees seemed to be closing in on us and we wondered if indeed we were going in the right direction. Chris and I were talking about snakes dropping from the heights above when we came heard a hello ahead. There was a couple canoeing in from the other way. We pulled over as far as possible to the other side to let them pass, Chris asking if this was the way out. They said yes and not soon after, the trees parted and we found ourselves going under the bridge that was the entrance to the park. Chris breathed a loud sigh and I asked what was wrong, he explained that in the mangrove he felt quite claustrophobic and was getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Normally, I am the one who does not like tight spaces and fortunately for me, mosquitos don't like the way I taste! We entered a lagoon area that fed back into the main water through a channel where there were several men fishing. Off to the side was the Great Blue Heron, waiting for his next free meal. This bird was almost tame, in that he was standing not 5 feet from the men. Every now and then, one of them would catch a small fish and not throw it back, but towards the Heron. Hence the bird had become quite large, and close to being a pet as it watched carefully every move the men made, hoping beyond hope for the next free ride to it's belly.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh Baby!

Once again, I am taking on the 100 days~100 paintings. Todays first entry is no surprise to those who are familiar with my work. It is appropriate that the first entry is a baby turtle. It also is no surprise that it is also a part of my sepia series. The sepias started last year as a response to people coming in my booth at outdoor shows saying, I love your work, but I don't know if that color will go on my wall. I painted 7 12x12 sepias and they sold that spring. The series took a small vacation while I focused on other projects~including a house thrown into the mix with a massive mosaic that covers several walls in our new bathroom. More on that later!
Baby turtles are always a favorite of mine. Our trip to Florida near Sanibel Island found us on a preserve where there were turtle nests being protected from intruders. The turtles always begin life with a struggle, breaking out of the eggshell, crawling and climbing out of the sand, only to find themselves in danger of being eaten by fish, seabirds, raccoons, and other assorted members higher than them on the food chain. Life for us is series of struggles too, but at least we don't have the additional worry of being consumed!
"Oh Baby!" Acrylic on Canvas 6x12 inches $75.00