Sunday, July 29, 2018

Chinese Lantern Paintings

I’ve got a series of three paintings of Chinese lanterns on my website. Here you have a close cutaway of one piece. This nighttime painting makes me think it’s time for a party. What better in the middle of this hot summer? 

You may visit my website at

Friday, July 27, 2018

Self-Portrait through Books, Part SIX the Last!

One more time, this is the sixth installment of my self portrait, find my earlier five posts all created in this month, July of 2018.  I’ve saved two books for the last.  Here’s the picture one more time!

Okay, I have been working my way from top to bottom and have worked my way to the last two titles, which are hanging around in the middle.  The white one, Chinese Calligraphy first.

I remember years ago going to the bookstore all excited that I had decided to learn Chinese.  I just happened to meet a Chinese friend there and told him of my plans.  He laughed at me and said, “Have fun with that, even the Chinese don’t knowChinese!”  Not letting him dampen my spirits, I purchased this book and have been glad for years that I did.  

Have I learned Chinese?  Well, technically, no.  BUT, I have learned a lot about the development of the Chinese language from pictograms to characters and have an understanding of how they have changed.  I can look at many characters and see the root of the word and why the characters are written the way they are.  I can read VERY FEW words, but can identify the language from other oriental languages and appreciate the rich heritage. The way they write their characters is a very high art in itself and it has enriched my life studying and learning the character formation and give me a deep appreciation for those masters.  What a beautiful language.

All this to give a nod to my Chinese friend, and a wink admitting he was right.  Oh, but I am glad I tried!

I saved my Bible for the last, because it is ever so much the most important one of all!!!  I’ve been using a bilingual Bible because of my constant love of learning and languages.  It’s also been fascinating because many times the Spanish is more clear in its interpretation than the English, and many times I’ve found that the words chosen in Spanish have more impact for me, and sometimes enhance the passage even more.

But the reason I saved this for last is because this is the ONE BOOK that has changed my life. It tells the story of man’s fall, the mess we’ve made of ourselves, and the fact that we are all sinners.  It tells the story of God coming to earth to become a man, Jesus, to purposefully die that our sins can be forgiven.  It tells the story of how we, as sinful people, can reach out to Jesus for forgiveness and ask him in to our lives.  It tells the story of beauty and redemption and the full, rich life possible for each one of us. 

It tells the story of my life, a mess, turned around by Jesus.  I have hope.  I have a future.  I have freedom.  I have no fear.  That is a lot to say in this dark world! The reason I put this book in the center is because it holds everything else up.  There would be nothing else for me or for anyone without the God of this book.  Thank you, Jesus, for changing MY life and filling me with hope and beauty!!

Ship Painting Sold

SOLD! This is a small cutaway of the larger painting. I named it Well Placed Hope II. I did a similar one, its mate, as a commission several years ago and loved it so much that I decided to paint another ship, hence the addition to the name, “II,’ which is fitting after all, for ships! The Well Placed Hope part insures that even when things are at their bleakest, there is always Hope.  This ship will not sink!  Yes, I do commissions.

If you look closely in the area of the moon you can see some pretty cool textures.  These things are difficult to photograph, but make my work oh so much more beautiful in person.

Here’s the painting in its entirety.  The size is 30”x24”.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Art Classes for Homeschoolers

If you’re still thinking of art classes for the fall, I’m switching into high gear gathering supplies and preparing lesson plans. I teach in two locations: and  Two of my seven classes are full, but there’s room in the others! Did you know I also give private lessons? Message me about that.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Puppy (Painting) for Sale

I think YOU need a dog! This excitable pup needs a new home. I painted him with big loose strokes to give the feel of non-stop puppy movement, and he won’t even shed on your jeans. I use the best paints on highest quality gallery wrapped canvas, sealed with layers of UV protectant varnish. You can find him on my website and will also find deep descriptions and many other pictures.

Well, I can’t say it’s hot off the press; I guess I’ll say it’s hot off the easel.

I always like to have someone in our family take a picture with me holding my painting. This way you can get a good feel for its size.
A little closeup of my slobber boy so you can closely see the strokes and how I layered the colors.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mixing Charts for Paintings

Charts, charts, charts... they make me a better artist. Because I use such a plethora of paints,I’m always creating mixing charts before painting. Usually at this point I’ve got in mind exactly what I want, and am searching for the exact colors to flesh out my ideas. When I’m finished with the painting, I log the paints used so I have a record for my clients. This way, years in the future, if Uncle Max tumbles into the painting, we’ll know what to do.

That being said, if you buy a painting from me, you have as an extra bonus the assurance of knowing I’ve got the best quality materials in it, and know that if it ever needs repairs, we’ll have a good starting point.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Art Book Love

Oh what a find at Good People Books in Austin! How cool is this? I know, I know, your heart isn’t going pitter patter, but mine is. :)

Artist’s Flatlay in Studio

I’ve done quite a lot of layouts, always in a single color.  This time I decided to celebrate the color wheel and just lay down those colors (sorry, purple, I owe you one.) Of note, gorgeous ribbons one of my students gave me on a cool gift, my metal embossed seahorse mounted on a box and a colorful swag I recently made which I toss over all kinds of things to brighten things up and celebrate. Oh, and my coolest ever striped purse from Target. And my cheap sunglasses.  (These be no rhinestone shades.)

Self Portrait, Part Five (see previous posts for others)

All right, could it be that we have only four books to go? This is the continuation of my self portrait.  I have chosen this little company of books to represent myself; they are a distillation of the, oh, I don’t know... 1,000, 2,000? books in our home.

Again, here’s the picture:

We’ve done all the books in my previous July, 2018 posts, and now have only the four standing on the left to finish us up.

The Art of Peter Max.  I LOVE Peter Max! His fresh vibrancy in everything he does inspires me.  And, did you know that one of the artists that formed and inspired him was actually Bouguereau? Go figure, huh? Kind of funny, because his work is nothing like Bouguereau, nor is mine, but he can inspire us all.  And a nod to you, Peter, for being reliably bright and fun.

Next to that is The Creators by Daniel Boorstin.  If you haven’t read any Boorstin, ANYTHING he has written is worthy! His history is fabulous and I also love his American history.  THIS book, however, has well moved in and secured its place in our home.  For one thing, this is my second copy as I completely wore out my other copy and finally threw it away in about 20 pieces. It’s just a beautiful and informative book about creators.  All kinds of creators through history: musicians, writers, sculptors, inventors, painters.  Love it!

Although is a descriptive self portrait created with BOOKS, there’s something else in this picture worthy of mention.  You see these books surrounded by mark makers (in lots of colors), two of my paintings, and a glorious outside garden.  These three are a very apt part of my portrait.

All right! Two books down, two to go!  You will see me finish up my self portrait in my next installation, part six!  See you then. ;)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Self Portrait, Part the Fourth

Well, here we go again! Find my three previous posts down below this within the past few days.  I’m continuing my self portrait, as described by this stack of books. Oops... I chose the wrong pic - me and my son... and it’s too good to delete, so... this picture is of me and my son! We just finished having lunch at the BIGGEST RESTAURANT IN TEXAS, The Oasis, on beautiful Lake Travis. :)

Now, back to the self portrait... let’s see if I can do better ...
Here we are. All right, I’m moving my way downward, and have arrived at Bernini. Oh, Bernini, how I love you! I was so excited to meet your work in person when we were in Roma, and my love for you has not dimmed! Michelangelo did a great work.  You built upon that work. You took the idea of his gorgeous figures further by adding emotion and muscle tension. Your sculptures are alive with emotion and feeling, right down to their very toes! I love this book as well because, well, it’s a Phaidon book, and Phaidon knows how to do things right.  You can count on Phaidon to produce beautiful stuff.  It even smells good.  Don’t you just love a book that smells good?  Also, I use this book almost every year in my art classes.  Soo handy for so many reasons.

The Complete Van Gogh.  I love his work. I sympathize with his lot in life, which, try as he would he could not seem to improve.  That he could create such beauty - it’s just a wonderful thing.  Also he’s Dutch.  So am I. We Dutch artists have to stick together.  Visiting the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, home of MY PEOPLE is a memory that I cherish.

Down on the far right you see a little Latin dictionary.  I know I already covered Latin earlier, but Latin is really just so important to me, that it’s an ongoing thing. Just today I was reading semi-historical fiction about 14th century Norway, and so much Latin comes up in it.  It’s everywhere, and nice to understand it when it comes along.

Enough for this post! We are getting there! I believe I now have four books and a wooden toad left to explain.  See ya in Part the Fifth!

Graffiti Art in Austin

We took a Your Biker Gang ride all through Austin, hence the helmet. Wow, what FUN!  We were surprised to ride down the hill and stop here! I didn’t know that this graffiti wall was owned by Shepard Fairey - that’s his home in the background looking rather like a castle. It looks like we got here just in time - he sold the property and pretty soon it will be making way for condos. Sad but true. Graffiti artists, I hope you find a good place!

Our son, looking proud and happy.

We were seriously wishing for some paint cans.

Hard to believe it’s all going to be razed to the ground.

These were the bikes.  Wow, they were FUN!!! I highly recommend that if you go to Austin you do this! You will thank me later. We told them that if a couple bikes went missing, they’d know where to look.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Art Stickers

So many stickers, so little time! Did you even know I have stickers? At two bucks a pop you can stick ‘em everywhere!  Mention my blog in comments on my website and I’ll send off a lovely, free gift if you buy five or more. Find them at
The first one is laying on my lovely desk...

I zoomed in on this one so you could get a good look-see. :)
And, this little group of friendly owls are next to my pen so you can get a feel for size.  Aren’t they awesome? 

Self Portrait, Part the Third

All right, this is the third post in my self-portrait reveal.  Last time I ended with James Herriot, so we begin with the next book:

Latin Roots you say? Stupor Mundi! Yes! I have long been fascinated with languages and done serious study before each of our European travels. Wherever we went, I always had learned enough to get directions, exchange money, read signs, get to the right airport gate and essentially live and thrive.  But Latin, oh how I love thee! For years I studied and taught our three oldest kids (those weird homeschoolers, you know) Latin. Our oldest says it was the best thing he learned in high school and it has ever so greatly enriched our lives.  As the base of our language it will never be dead - but even so, its boundaries are far beyond that.  Not to mention the fact that it made learning any other language easy! I also chose this book because it’s representative of our 26 years of homeschooling our four kids.

The next, William Morris. This book is full of his designs.  Pattern, color and texture.  He was a master. And color, pattern and texture are a never ending source of interest to me.

The Musee d-Orsay.  This great, peerless museum lies in the heart of Paris, across from le Louvre.  These two museums nod and smile at each other across the river in understanding, and I adore them both. This book also represents our travels and unquenchable curiousity.

Pucci begins where William Morris left off.  More color, texture and pattern.  Why two books that represent the same idea? I have no idea, but really to me it represents a continuation of the work as time passes into the modern age.

Enough! That’s all we can take for one post!  I’ll be back soon with .... Self Portrait, Part the Fourth.  See you then!

Blanton Museum of Art in Austin

I wasn’t expecting to find my good old friend Robert Indiana in Austin, but there he was. And since I grew up on trains, drove a train and then worked for the railroad, wasn’t it perfect that it would be this painting the Blanton Museum of Art had on display. Very nice, Robert!

I have long loved Robert Indiana.  He manages to take things right down to their very essence and distill out all the flim flam, like a great chef. His work is stark, colorful, very dramatic and imbued with meaning for those who take the time to look.  Absolutely love this particular piece.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Self Portrait, Part Two

All right, here we go again! It seems that my self-portrait is, well, wordy, and I guess now’s as good a time as any to admit to you that this as well is one of my traits!

To pick up where we left off... my previous post ended after six books, and I’m working my way from top to bottom. 

Next, Designa.  Oh, Designa! A reference of classic design through the centuries, I have gone back to you again and again for years! I have become so rich because of you that each time I see you displayed in a bookstore I give a happy, contented sigh. You’re the best part of that Wooden Book bunch.

Soup for Supper? Yay! A children’s book with delightful illustrations that I’ve read to all our kids. I tried to buy it as we always used library books, but it was out of print.  Our oldest son actually found it - eureka - and gave me this most delightful gift! Now I have been reading it to my art students and this year had them copy some of Phyllis Root’s incredible work. Personally raising up a new generation of Phyllis Root lovers.

Okay, leaning on the stack, just trying to get into the picture, is Color.  Oh how I have loved this book.  When I get my art students busy creating I will often read to them.  Even with my high schoolers, if I say the phrase, “It’s story time!” they will give up a little cheer. Who doesn’t want to know that the color yellow used to be made from the urine of cows fed mango leaves, a beautiful purple or mauve was resultant from the massacre of millions of snails, or that wars were fought over a red made of bugs’ blood? Even today some of your makeup and some of the things you drink contain bugs’ blood.  It’s nice to know you’ve chosen organic.  :) And oh, how dearly I love the groans and horror rising from my students when they learn these wonderful things. Just makes me so happy.

Continuing downward we come to Bouguereau. Bouguereau is one of my favorite artists. Highly favored in his lifetime, his work fell out of favor when he died, and he was actually ‘rediscovered’ fairly recently.  Love, love love his work, and many artists I highly admire have also been inspired by him.

The Rembrandt. Note that it’s in Dutch. I picked this one up when we were in The Netherlands.  It represents several things.  He’s one of my Top Ten artists and he’s also Dutch.  As am I.  Two famous Dutch artists, right? :) I also chose the Dutch version because I love to figure out other languages. Call it a hobby.

A Passion for Colour.  This is one of the newest in my stack, but I cherish it.  I LOVE color!  This woman and I, yep... we’d be good friends.

Picasso Black and White.  A number of years ago the MFA Houston had this exhibit.  I thought, “...ah, Picasso.  But just black and white? They’ll probably have some little pencil drawings and some black crayon and it’ll be boring.” Oh my goodness I was so wrong! I went in planning on spending an hour and going to an appointment I had later on.  I staggered out after four or five hours totally missing my appointment and incredibly inspired! Those black and white paintings have given me a lifetime of inspiration!

Under that, Roger Dean’s Views.  Oh, Roger, Roger, Roger! How I have loved you since I was 16 and bought my first Yes album!  Your work! Your crazy, colorful, otherworldly abstract but totally representative work! Your analogous and complimentary colors.  I have both drooled over and been inspired by your artwork for all these years.  And I am very sorry and angry you didn’t win that lawsuit with the Avatar movie people stealing your inspiration as their own. Seriously. Anybody with brains could see you all over that movie.

Okay, one last book and I will post this so you can take a reading break! We end with James Herriot’s Treasury for Children.  We wore two of these out with our kids and I give this book now as baby gifts.  Anyone that knows anything about James Herriot will understand.

All right, that’s it for now.  You will find me working through the stack in my next post which will be Self Portrait, Part the Third.  See ya!

Bookish Self Portrait

Well, I decided to do another self portrait, this one with books.  I walked around the house for a couple days and gathered the books that have been so important to me that they have come to represent me, and this gathering is actually a pretty telling portrait.  How shall we begin? How about top to bottom?

Nature in Winter. Ahh.... all the field guides we have used over the years, beginning when I was a child feeding and identifying birds, progressing to teaching our own children about everything under the sun.  The guides are pretty much all gone now, but this one is too beautiful and special.  I love it.

Wicked Plants. Noah gave me this one for Christmas and it is a plethora of creepy, delightful information about plants that KILL and TORTURE. I have an intimate relationship and deep working interest in plants and this one is just plain fun.  

Next to that is Dragon’s Fat Cat by Dav Pilkey. Oh, Dav, how I do love thee and your quirky, colorful Dragon books! I agree with your admiration of VanGogh and your continual nods to him in your children’s books! I have read them to my own children and to scores of students over the years.

The Heart of the Artist.  This is a sweet and inspiring book.  God has given us gifts, artist friends.  So must we use them.

Good Poems by my dear friend (although he doesn’t know it) Garrison Keillor.  For ... oh, how long was he on the air with Prairie Home Companion anyway? 30 years?  I can count my listening time back to 198...4?  His shows and work have given me great laugh-out-loud joy for many years.  He also had a program that was literally maybe three minutes long where he would read and discuss one poem.  Just found this book and I’m loving it.  But although it’s new, it represents a long history, and also represents my love of both reading and writing poetry.

One more book, and then I’ll post this, or my writing will be too long and put you to sleep!  The next - How Should We Then Live? This one is deep.  I’ve read it many times over the years and glean new gems with each re-reading. It has helped me to form and solidify my philosophy on how we should view, understand, produce and discuss art, and how to live our lives in relationship to art.  It’s a really beautiful, beautiful and timeless reference.

There is a marked difference in this last picture, in fact, I forgot something extremely important to my personhood. In fact, it was so important to me that I had to add it in and redo the photo shoot the next day.  Can you see what it is? See if you can figure it out before you look at my answer UNDER it at the bottom of this article. :)

Yep.  Musica.  That sheet of music at the bottom is not a book, but represents hundreds of music books I have laying around the house holding little impromptu jam sessions when no one is looking. I have long loved and played piano, flute and piccolo in every imaginable situation. Words cannot express how music has enriched my life.

They say that music itself is a language, and I am certain of that! So, I am extremely fluent in two languages, and pretty good and downright dangerous in several others. :)

Now, I’m going to post this and continue with my ramblings in the next post!  See you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Abstract Floral for Sale

This one is part of my... bum de da bum... Summer Bargains Program!

Flowers flowers flowers flowers... I can’t get enough of them. I LOVE flowers, and love playing them loose and fast like this. One of the greatest things about watercolors is the bleeds and blossoms you get which I think add to the freshness and joy of the painting.  Available. Message me if interested. This one is watercolor on 12x12” heavy paper.

Those things which are made in joy reflect joy!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Watercolor Sketch of Duckling

Inspired by the little babies that congregated under our picnic table (wonder why) I did this quick little watercolor sketch of one of my newfound friends. Made it messy, just like a duckling must certainly be!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

2017/2018 Art Students, Second Installation

I was going to publish the second half of my art students, but can’t find the pictures! ARG.

BUT... very important... this young lady.  She received the OFFICIAL Most Improved Award this year, and richly deserved it.  She went from extreme perfectionism, which is very frustrating and crippling in art, to being able to critique her work and being able to improve and rework it without throwing it away.  This girl has produced some lovely work and GROWN! 

Art Students

Here are my art students from 2017/2018 school year. Love these guys SOOOOOO much!

It doesn’t take very long for my classes to get to be family, due to the nature of our study and the way I work.  By the end of the year, it can be a pretty sad last few classes!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Ship at Sea Painting

Here’s a tiny cutaway of my painting, ‘Well Placed Hope’ which is for sale on my website. This is one ship that is NOT going to sink! There is ALWAYS hope. It has been in a traveling exhibit and is now looking for a permanent home. is where you’ll find more pictures and all kinds of info about this gorgeous painting.  I really love this one.

Floral Artwork, Patterns

Here is the floral pattern I’ve been working on in my studio. Inspired by my big, red hibiscus. Thinking I’d pick up a backpack if it had this pattern. Would you?

This could work for all kinds of things - cushions, drapes, and anything for the interior. That would be one cheery room!  I would love to have this in a room filled with light and plants and wicker.

My dilemma as I was working was to keep it simple.  As any artist works, there are so many decisions to make.

I had to fight my desire to paint the background (all white) either a deep blue or black.  That would be showy and nice, but I wanted to keep this one light.

Because watercolor is such a fresh, immediate medium, I also had to fight the desire to ‘finish’ it by adding details in the flower centers and leaves.  I felt that would detract from the beautiful bleeds and bloomed of the watercolor movement and flow.  It might have erased it and covered it altogether!

Another decision was to NOT add darks for shading and dimension.  I wanted to keep it slightly flat.  Also to add the shading would have opened up the possibility of overworking the painting.

I think these were all good decisions.  In fact... I like it! :) Do you?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Studio Work

Whew!  Well, at least I cleaned the paintbrushes before taking the pic. What are YOU doing this summer?