Sunday, December 23, 2012

Iron Door on the Van Gogh Wall

The wall above and to the right of this old iron door behind an ancient church in Slovakia is, astonishingly, covered with Van Gogh "murals." Here's the Google Street View link to it. Go see it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brass Bird

While Christmas shopping, I came across this little brass bird. Its big feet made me smile so I bought it for me and painted it as a Christmas card for my daughter's new in-laws.  Yes, she got married this summer! Like her mother before her, the planning and the stress of a big wedding got to be too much so they put together a wedding in a very hectic week's time, on a beach in Oregon, with the groom's parents and sister, my parents and I in attendance.  It was a perfect, fairy tale wedding.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

House on the Hill

This many angled, tall house was perched high on a hill above the city of Bratislava, Slovakia.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bubbling Brook

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, watercolor is like a box of chocolates--you never know what you're going to get. I think that's why I love it so much. Today, I coated a previously gessoed MDF board with Daniel Smith watercolor ground to see what would happen. It was an interesting experiment but wasn't appealing to me that much until I was nearly finished and gave it a squirt of water here and there. Holy moly! It was just what the painting needed as the water lifted off paint and gave the stream some bubbly action.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Falls Sketch

While the weather is cooperating, I'm investigating the paths and ponds around my neighborhood. I'm trying to talk myself into painting a series of this small waterfall scene throughout the coming seasons. That's the plan, but knowing me I will chuck that idea when the temperature drops even another 5 degrees. So we'll see...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall Reflections

Bright enough for ya?  :)  I can see my new Chinese watercolors will need some taming, but for today I enjoyed putting the pure color down to catch the blazing red and orange leaves on the tree reflected in the pond near my house. 

Friday, November 16, 2012


Meet my little friend, Putz, who is entertaining me while his mom and dad are on vacation in Hawaii, lucky dogs. err... In addition to spending time with him this week, I have been playing with my new toys, Chinese ink and Chinese watercolors. From what I have read, Chinese watercolors are a cross between watercolors and gouache, only not as opaque as regular gouache.  They seem to granulate more than traditional watercolors, an effect I really enjoy, and the ink was great fun to try to capture Putz' markings.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Another month, another country, and this month we're off to New Brunswick, Canada.  Normally, I spend a lot of time, too much really, looking around for the "best" spot to paint. But I discovered this harbor scene right off the bat and was instantly drawn to the smokestacks.  I know, weird, but I enjoyed the challenge.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Croatia Sketches

So many picturesque places to paint in Croatia!  I've been trying to convince myself to sketch every day and today I finally listened to me and did two. ;)


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Warts and All

I love traveling all around the world virtually, but something fundamentally doesn't work with that approach, and that is to be able to see all the color bouncing around a scene, as is visible when painting plein air. Intellectually, I know it's there and sometimes I can fake it, but nothing compares to the real deal. Yesterday, I placed a decorative gourd on my work table and my eyes were dazzled by all the color.  (Maybe a little too dazzled, but better too much than too little). So, here's my little gourd, warts and all.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Orange Boat

What could be better than hanging out in a cantaloupe colored boat on a sunny day? Well, actually untying the line and heading out to fish maybe. This was my first time painting on Saunders Waterford 200# paper and I'm very happy with the way it handled. I saturated it with water and stuck it on a plexiglass backing, where it stayed wet for hours while I added paint and lifted color.  And no buckling! You could say this paper really floated my boat. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Heading Home

My curiosity is always piqued by open doorways as in this scene painted for the Virtual Paintout in Denmark this month.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Swan Lake

This was the most amazing sight I've seen yet on my virtual jaunts. The entire lake, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, was full of beautiful, graceful swans. So gorgeous!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Leaf

Awww man, it IS fall. I spotted this little leaf on the way to the mailbox and had to console myself by painting it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Walking the Dog

The first of every month is like Christmas, thanks to the Virtual Paintout. It's always fun to see the new location and learn a little about the country. This month we're off to Denmark, a spectacularly beautiful place. I spotted this fellow walking through the woods. He looked a little lonely, so I gave him a dog.

Friday, August 24, 2012


This beach scene in Tasmania, Australia, feels like the last hour before sunset to me, that quiet time when all that can be heard is the soft shush of the sea.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rocky Shore

For a change of pace, and because the subject matter seemed to call for it, I painted this scene from Tasmania in acrylic. I was drawn to the clear water in the foreground which allows the viewer to see the rocks on its sandy bottom. Really loved painting with this forgiving medium.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Red is such an energizing color. Sketching this beauty in my backyard today was the perfect way to spend a sunny summer day.


Years ago, the local newspaper art critic slammed the artists of the Hawaii Watercolor Society, saying we painted "pretty" pictures, particularly flowers. Ugh! The fact is, we DID paint pretty flower pictures, in retrospect truly excellent paintings, but I took her point to heart and began painting fewer flower paintings and attempted more "meaningful" paintings. I regret that now. Hawaii's flowers are glorious and I wish I had painted a boatload of them. Now I will attempt to make up for lost time and enjoy painting mainland flowers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wildflowers - 1

My daughter is getting married next year and has asked me to paint a small watercolor for each of her invited guests. I'm pleased to do it since she lives many thousands of miles away so helping her with most of her other wedding preparations will be pretty difficult. I painted this little watercolor today to warm up and start getting some ideas flowing between us for what she's looking for in her little paintings.

Monday, July 2, 2012


The light and the happy expression on the face of the motorcycle passenger drew me to this scene from Thailand for this month's Virtual Paintout. I challenged myself to stick to a limited palette of cad yellow light, bright violet, manganese and ultramarine blue. I did dip into a red a tiny bit for the helmet but for the most part stuck to the challenge. This was a fairly big deal for me as I tend to dip into every color on my palette as I go. I enjoyed this process and think that it quiets the painting and adds harmony.

Monday, June 25, 2012


My brother gave me several plants recently, among them this ruby and white fuschia. A few days later, I saw a fledgling crow on my patio, perched on my favorite chair. I watched him for several minutes as he hopped over and checked out some flowers on the table which were waiting for me to plant. His mother, I assume, was cawing at him to get the heck out of there and he eventually listened to her and made a slightly awkward takeoff to join her. Later, I found a feather he had left behind. I carved the feather and cut a short slice in the center to use as a quill pen. It worked, sort of, and this little painting is the result.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

House Overlooking a Pond

Inspired by Nita Engle's wonderful book "How to Make a Painting Paint Itself," I spattered and slung paint and water for this scene from Latvia on illustration board. It was an interesting experiment but I didn't love the board which seemed to absorb and melt the paint, making it sort of fuzzy looking. All in all, it was ok but I'll be going back to my old standby Lanaquarelle for the next one.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sidewalk Statue

It was startling to see this wonderful old statue plunked right on a sidewalk on a back street in Riga, Latvia. At some point, she has lost her left hand.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Latvian Laundry

This month Bill Guffey's Virtual Paintout is in Latvia. I spotted this homey scene on a back road out in the country and was drawn to the late afternoon light shining through the wash hanging on the line.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Suzy's Peony

My sister-in-law's birthday (today) falls just at the time my peonies begin to bloom. I painted this as a card for her and was swooning with the fragrance of the flowers all afternoon. I don't know if peonies are her favorite flower, but they are one of mine!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jaffa Gate Redux

Another go at the Jaffa Gate.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jaffa Gate Entrance to the Old City

Jerusalem is a fascinating blend of ancient and modern. This bustling street was packed with people from tourists to locals entering the Old City through the shadow of an ancient gate.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First Crop

Even when our children are grown, it's fun to see them enjoying new milestones in their lives. My daughter and her fiance have a spot in a communal garden this summer and these radishes are the first of the coming bounty. Being a Hawaiian girl and from the city, she had never experienced gardening. Pretty exciting stuff!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Waiter, Waiting

In the late afternoon in Marciana Marina, Tuscany, Italy, a waiter appears to be waiting patiently for the dinner crowd.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tuscany Villa

I worked for many hours today on an elaborate marina scene, only to end up with an overworked painting. Feeling a little discouraged, I went back to a villa I had seen near the marina and sketched it. It was the most fun I'd had all day. Lesson for the day--sometimes it's better to just keep it simple.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fun in the Sun

The beaches on the island of Elba are jam-packed with people enjoying the sand, sea, and sun. It was fun to (virtually) join the crowd and sketch awhile on this (real world) wintry day in the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On the Slopes

It was supposed to snow here today but to my disappointment, it only rained, so I took to the slopes of Colorado with the Virtual Paintout Group. This is more my speed anyway. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Aloha, Mimi

2012 began with heartbreak for me. My little sidekick (kitty), Mimi, finally succumbed to old age. She started out her life with a hoarder who had caged her with at least 100 other cats and numerous dogs. She was thought to be about eight when she was rescued by the Hawaii Humane Society and had probably been caged most if not all of that time. Her muscles had atrophied to the point that she was unable to walk completely upright--she sort of listed to the side. One eye was ulcerated and had to later be surgically removed. Her hearing was minimal and she had a virus common to cats living in crowded conditions. At least half of the other rescued kitties had to be put to sleep because of the severity of their injuries and illnesses. When she came to live with me, I had just gone through a painful divorce and was trying to find my way in a new and stressful life. The short story is, we healed each other. She was an inspiration to me, watching her overcome her disabilities and early trauma, and thrive. On January 4, I held her as a veterinarian from Compassionate Care put her to sleep in her favorite warm spot in "her" bedroom. Yesterday, her cremated ashes were waiting in a small box on the front step for me. My heart rejoiced to see she was home again but still it was difficult opening the box. But opening it, I found a tiny, colorful tin and my sorrow lifted.