Sunday, December 27, 2020

Closing out a Gnarly Year


Coda, oil on canvas

Coda, 6 x 12 inch oil on canvas
My final "mini" painting for 2020

Wow, for as gnarly as this past year was, it still seemed to go by quickly. On many occasions, I was confused about what day of the week it was because many of the days blurred together without my usual schedule of art shows and exhibitions to anchor my awareness. But as I look back, I am extremely grateful for the work I was able to create and for being able to remain healthy.

I want you to know how much I appreciate your support of my artwork. With your help, I got through a year that sometimes seemed overwhelming and mystifying. 

Like many of you, these past months forced me to evolve and to innovate. I enjoyed showing my Knoxville studio and new paintings to you through live online shows. I upgraded my web site to offer you better ways to see my artwork. I also tapped into my old video and film production skills to share more about my artistic process and to stay connected with you via social media.

I’m optimistic about the year ahead. I have some cool, new ideas that I’ll be working on and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to travel to some of my outdoor art shows later in the year following the vaccine rollout. Until then, please know that I’m deeply grateful for your interest in what I do. I look forward to sharing more landscape and cityscape paintings with you in 2021.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

25 Days of Minis - Study, Apollo at Night

Study, Apollo at Night

Study, Apollo at Night
8 x 12 inch oil on panel

Today marks the first day of 25 Days of Minis. Every day through December 25, 45 artists will release a new piece. Be sure to subscribe to the Daily Digest to get the new release in your morning mailbox. It’s always great to begin your day with a selection of original artwork!

What is 25 Days of Minis? It's a well-curated group of artists who get together in December to each share one small artwork every day until Christmas - providing you with artwork sized perfectly for gifting and collecting!

Behind the scenes, we are all working together to make amazing art, run our small businesses, help each other grow and learn, and be better artists. ⁠So many of our collectors look forward to exploring the new work each day of December - finding the beauty and inspiration of the art a welcome respite in their holiday schedule. 

Study, Apollo at Night, in a satin black frame

To kick off this year's exhibition, I'm featuring an iconic landmark from one of my favorite cities, Study, Apollo at Night (8 x 12 inch oil on panel) in Harlem. Given the year that has been, I couldn't think of a better way to start this new exhibition than with a celebration of New York City.

Monday, November 09, 2020

20 First Dates: Nocturne No. 2 - Renewal


Nocturne No. 2 - Renewal

Nocturne No. 2 - Renewal

8 x 12 inch oil on linen panel

This final painting in my "20 First Dates" series offers many layers of meaning. As we move toward winter (on the calendar, if not in day-to-day weather), we enter a season of quiet renewal. And I've always been partial to dusk and nighttime subjects in my paintings because of the power of light within these compositions. Both of these themes hold added significance to me as we draw near the end of a challenging year together and begin to look ahead to what will hopefully be a better year ahead.

I started my "Nocturne" series a couple of years ago, and then - much like a dog chasing a butterfly across a pasture - my artist eye latched onto other ideas in the meantime. But the months ahead now seem like the perfect time to revisit this series as I cannot imagine anything more relevant for this time. So while this painting ends the "20 First Dates" series, it also serves as a bridge to what you'll see from me in the upcoming months as I explore the darker side of subjects and the beauty of light within them.


Tuesday, November 03, 2020

20 First Dates: Chicago Electric

12 x 18 inch oil on linen panel
With the arrival of November, my thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays. During the Thanksgiving holiday, my husband and I often visit his family in the Chicago suburbs, affording me the perfect opportunity to visit one of my favorite cities and one of my favorite art museums, The Art Institute of Chicago, all in one fell swoop. 
This year, we'll stick closer to home, but I can still pay homage to this wonderful city through my artwork, and Chicago Electric is a perfect way to showcase the Loop and its magic. I can always get lost in the abstract play of colorful reflections and lights.

Detail of Chicago Electric

Details of Chicago Electric

Framed view of Chicago Electric, in a satin black frame 

Framed view of Chicago Electric


Saturday, October 31, 2020

20 First Dates: November Horizon


November Horizon

November Horizon
12 x 36 inch oil on canvas

Earlier this week, my uncle passed away. His loss got me reminiscing fondly about my childhood in Wisconsin and the positive role that he and my aunt played in my life. In response to this nostalgia, I detoured on my choice of painting to feature for your next date and I decided to process my emotions through my work.

November Horizon is loosely based on my grandparents' farm in the central Wisconsin community of Chilton, where my family shared many wonderful memories together. To my artist's mind, Wisconsin is all about expansive skies, low horizons, and dramatic cloud formations. This moment captures the golden light of a late fall afternoon as winter approaches. I love the richness and broad sweep of this painting. 

Details of November Horizon

Framed view of the painting in a satin black canvas floater.
Framed dimensions of 13.5 x 37.5 inches.

Monday, October 26, 2020

20 First Dates: Study, Bear Bend


Study, Bear Bend

Study, Bear Bend
11 x 14 inch oil on panel

As I near the conclusion of my "20 First Dates" series, it's only fitting that your next date, Study, Bear Bend brought me a moment of unexpected magic. I ventured up to the Great Smoky Mountains to capture the peak fall foliage this past weekend and while painting this piece, three bears wandered into the middle of the scene along the opposite stream bank.

I'm such a city bumpkin that my first thought was, "Oh, for Pete's sakes, whose dog is off-leash?"

It was only after a moment that I realized, "Wait, that's a bear!" And then two more trailed along shortly afterward. It took two-and-a-half years of visiting the park, but I finally had my moment of Bear Zen. I was so excited that I finished my painting session floating on a cloud of giddiness.

My field easel in the Great Smoky Mountains

The painting in progress. There is nothing better than an
outdoor office in the Great Smoky Mountains!


Framed view of Study, Bear Bend
Framed view of Study, Bear Bend


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Celebrating the Beauty in the Everyday

One of my core artistic beliefs is that there is beauty around us, each day, every day. During this difficult year, it's been a little harder to keep this principle in focus. And yet it is more important than ever before.

The Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show recently invited me to do a Facebook Live event for their "5 O'Clock Club." This social media venue helps keep artists in touch with interested patrons during a year when in-person events have not been possible. For my session, I shared a behind-the-scenes look into my Knoxville, Tennessee studio with insights into my materials and process. I hope you enjoy the tour!

Monday, October 19, 2020

20 First Dates: Daybreak Over Sutherland


Daybreak Over Sutherland

Daybreak Over Sutherland, 10 x 25 inch oil on panel

My home city of Knoxville, Tennessee provided the inspiration for Daybreak Over Sutherland. This painting captures the first morning light over Sutherland Avenue, a main city street that runs across downtown near where I live. It was a rare occasion for me to be up early (I'm not a morning person), and the beautiful light in this moment happened to catch my eye.

Y'know, when you're a kid and you declare, "I wanna be an artist when I grow up," it's unlikely that you'll follow that statement with "...and I'm gonna paint gas stations!" But I don't consciously see a service station in this moment. In fact, almost every city subject that I paint is less about the actual "objects" in the composition and more about the placement of shapes and colors. In this instance, I loved the wide stretch of the moment and the play of reds and greens throughout the subject. Oh, and if I have an excuse to feature a gorgeous sky, then that's definitely a winner.


Framed view of Daybreak Over Sutherland


Saturday, October 17, 2020

20 First Dates: Waiting for You

Waiting for You, oil on panel

Waiting for You, 20 x 30 inch oil on panel

They say that patience is a virtue, and the next date in my series of "20 First Dates" offers this quality as well as the rich color and dynamic contrast that I love to explore with nighttime subjects the city. Waiting for You comes from a winter night in midtown Manhattan and it's a meditation on our "socially distanced" times. I understand the necessity of the sacrifices we're all making during this difficult time, yet I'm restless and anxious to get back to gathering with friends, mingling in the city, and venturing out more broadly to new places. The potential stories here are full of possibility, and I had a lot of fun painting this piece because of its vibrance and relevance to our current time. 


 Detail images of Waiting for You


Framed view

Framed view of Waiting for You in a satin black canvas floater frame,
framed dimensions of 21.5 x 31.5 inches.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

20 First Dates: Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza


Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza

Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza

6 x 12 inch oil on panel

A recent twilight sky over a shopping center near our home in Knoxville, Tennessee inspired me with its vivid color. The opportunity to swim in unabashed color like this is just too much fun for me to pass up. I firmly believe that with the right light and the right timing, anything has the potential to make a wonderful painting subject. Even a strip mall.

This painting includes Study in the title because I'll probably delve into this motif again as a larger piece in the future. These initial studies are a practice run for me, where I can try on an idea and just play around without fretting about the pressure of a big commitment of time and materials. As a result, I often derive great satisfaction from these small compositions because they feel more free and loose to me. 


Framed view of Sundown, Knox Plaza

 Framed view of Study, Sundown, Knox Plaza



Saturday, October 10, 2020

20 First Dates: Lyric


Lyric, original oil on canvas

Lyric, 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas

I love to explore the pops of color from man-made lights and reflections against the backdrop of a rainy day in the city. I caught this moment along 31st Street in Manhattan, and I was drawn to the patterns of color and texture as framed by the city buildings.

When it comes to my cityscape compositions, for many years I've been fascinated by the down-the-street perspective because it affords a great way to narrow down all of the sensory overload in a place like New York City and just allow me to focus in on one key moment. In Lyric, the pedestrian with the red umbrella, surrounded by other touches of red lights and reflections, captivated me. 


Detail of Lyric
 Detail of Lyric

I like to use the texture of the canvas to add shimmering hints of other colors around the details. 

Framed view of Lyric

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

20 First Dates: Spill and Chill


Spill and Chill
Spill and Chill
8 x 10 inch oil on panel

When I need to regain my emotional footing, I head outdoors, preferably to places out of cell phone range. The sparkling rivers roaring through the Great Smoky Mountains always soothe me. I'm fascinated by the movement and contour of water, and the title of this painting describes the cascading spill of the water, combined with how it helps me to chill out.

Painted en plein air along the Middle Prong River, Spill and Chill is a meditation on crisp stream water and the kaleidoscope of shimmering colors that sing during an early autumn day. Shown here is a "Video Postcard from the Easel" with the painting in progress during an absolutely gorgeous early autumn day. Check out the colors in the river water!

Spill and Chill, framed

Spill and Chill in a bronze frame
Framed dimensions of 13.5 x 15.5 inches

Saturday, October 03, 2020

20 First Dates: Collide


Collide, oil landscape

Collide, 20 x 30 inch oil on panel

This new landscape addition to my "20 First Dates" series of original paintings comes from a summer evening bike ride. When I was a kid, I spent many summer afternoons riding my bike across the family farm-dotted countryside of southern Wisconsin. Because of those fond memories from my childhood, I've always been partial to the quintessential red barn as a subject. And when it's complemented by a dramatic summer sky, it's irresistible to me.

Study, Nexus

Study, Nexus 6 x 8 inch oil on panel
This was the initial study

I first explored this motif as a small study late last year and I decided to revisit it as a larger piece because, well, a subject like this is sort of like comfort food for me. The title is a reference to the way the clouds framed the barn, when the natural elements just magically fell into place.  

Detail of painting

Detail of Collide, 20 x 30 inch oil panel

Framed view of painting

Framed view of Collide,
in a bronze frame with dark gold highlights



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

20 First Dates: Asheville Embers


Asheville Embers, 10 x 14 inch oil on panel

This addition to my ongoing series of "20 First Dates" features a cityscape from one of my favorite southeastern cities, Asheville, North Carolina. Here, a quiet side street packs a lot of punch in downtown following a beautiful winter afternoon. 

As someone who grew up with long Wisconsin winters that featured short days and dramatically crisp colors on many evenings, I have always loved the clarity of winter light. It has a personality all its own with fiery hues and I can recognize it instantly. 

I caught the inspiration for Asheville Embers during a December evening. Thanks to its mountain elevation, Asheville can get a fair bit of snowfall, but - unlike my home state - it doesn't usually stick for very long. This is the magic of the mountains in the southeast: You get four seasons, but you don't get any of them for too long. 

Framed view of Asheville Embers in a satin black frame with interior gold bevel.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

20 First Dates: Skate!

Skate! 16 x 16 inch oil on canvas

The latest addition to my 20 First Dates features a renegade personality that I caught along 8th Avenue in New York City. I loved the way the dynamic lights and colors framed him as he just about rolls out of our view. But for just this fleeting moment, he is situated among the energy of the city, and I had a lot of fun creating this painting. 

Details of "Skate!"

"Skate!" in a satin black canvas floater frame.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

20 First Dates: Awaiting Takeoff


Awaiting Takeoff painting
 Awaiting Takeoff, 12 x 24 oil on panel

A summertime connection through an airport brought this magical moment to me. I was traveling to a family reunion in Wisconsin (go Badgers, go Packers), and as our plane approached Michigan a line of thunderstorms roared through. After we landed and waited for our next flight, this was the westward view as the remnants of the billowing storm clouds dissolved into this amazing sunset.

Although I am a nervous flier, as we roll into month 7-ish of this pandemic, even I am growing restless and wishing that I could wander to a new destination. I'm still holding out for the ability to teleport, like they do on Star Trek, but until that time, I may have to steel myself to get back on a plane when conditions permit. 

I'm hopeful that our ability to travel more widely will return in the near future. Until then, I thought I'd share this magical moment from the Detroit Metro Airport. Who knew there can be such beauty at an airport?

Detail of Awaiting Takeoff

Detail of Awaiting, Takeoff


 Framed view of Awaiting, Takeoff

12 x 24 oil on panel 

Framed in a black canvas floater




Saturday, September 12, 2020

20 First Dates: Study, Stream Crossing


Study, Stream Crossing

16 x 20 inch oil on panel

The fourth painting in my series of 20 First Dates features a summertime woodland subject from the Pine Ridge Falls hiking trail in northeast Tennessee. I don't know about you, but when I get stressed out the best remedy is the great outdoors (and a pint of chocolate ice cream). As we've all dealt with new challenges this year, the ability to get outside and hike has never been more important for me. I discovered this gorgeous moment during a mild June afternoon.

When I first began my career as an artist, I was intimidated by the prospect of painting water, whether it was in my landscapes or my cityscapes. It just seemed like it would be difficult. But after years of practice and various subjects, what I've discovered is that I love the myriad colors and movement within water. It takes on an abstract quality for me, as you can see in the detail view shown here. I enjoy playing with its form and energy and it's why I'll often feature it within interior woodland subjects like this.


Detail view of painting

16 x 20 inch oil on panel
Framed view of painting
Framed view of Study, Stream Crossing


Saturday, September 05, 2020

20 First Dates: Together is a Beautiful Place to Be

Together is a Beautiful Place to Be

Together is a Beautiful Place to Be, 24 x 24 inch oil on canvas

I love walking the High Line Park in Lower Manhattan because it offers me a "non ant's eye view" of the world. I caught this woman during a crisp, clear winter morning. The clarity of light, the long angle of the shadows, and the different perspective intrigued me. I really enjoyed playing with the subtle colors and abstract patterns throughout this subject. The title for this painting comes from a beautiful song of the same name by jazz saxophonist Nubya Garcia. Her music recently caught my ear while working in my studio, where I've been consuming a lot of new music lately in my quest to just unplug and hunker down.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

20 First Dates: Elevate, your first date

Meet the first painting in my new series, 20 First Dates, Elevate, a 12 x 24 inch oil on panel. 

 Elevate, 12 x 24 oil on panel

This display of peak fall foliage from the Great Smoky Mountains kicks off my special series of paintings, 20 First Dates. To get just the right angle and light, I tromped well off of the hiking trail during one of my Southern Appalachian Naturalist classes at the Tremont Institute while we were tracking animals (in other words, looking for animal poop. For what it's worth, we did come across evidence of bears).

Meandering off of any hiking trail is generally a no-no, particularly because there are wild boars in the Smokies. But the class actually encouraged us to just go off and explore. I never would have had the chutzpah to wander into the woods and get this moment without the blessing of the class. As you can see, it was totally worth it.

Monday, August 31, 2020

20 First Dates

My husband, Tim, and I goofing around at an outdoor art show. 2020 has seen the cancellation of all our art shows and we really miss doing them. Fingers crossed that we get things turned around for 2021.

Well, there's no getting around it. 2020 has been an unusually challenging year. I won't rehash all that's gone wrong. There's not enough room for that here (!), and I know many of you are facing issues that you probably never foresaw a year ago at this time and hope you won't still have at this time next year.

As September begins, I want to reorient myself and share a new body of artwork with you. There's still a lot of beauty in our world. Sometimes the unrelenting news cycle and the problems in our nation may lead us to forget what's positive. 

The start of September also marks the 20th anniversary of my first date with my husband, Tim. Meeting him helped me to become the artist that I am today. When we met back in Madison, Wisconsin, I was working as a web developer and computer programmer. Without his help, I would not have realized my dream of being a painter. Tim has been my best friend and most enthusiastic supporter of my artwork since our first meeting. His kindness, compassion, and wit have helped me weather the ups and downs of life as an artist.

Although 2020 has been "meh" for many of us so far, I want to celebrate this occasion with you. I'm kicking off a new series of paintings, 20 First Dates. Now through November 7, I’ll share a new painting fresh from my easel each Tuesday and Saturday. Anything from cityscapes to landscapes to plein air works – it will always be something new! 

You can follow along with each new "painting date" here on my blog or on my Instagram. To receive a sneak preview of each new painting one day early, please join my mailing list. And if you have any questions about a painting, feel free to contact me. I look forward to sharing these new dates, er, paintings, with you in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

What Are You Working On?

My Studio Easel
Join me on Facebook Live on Thursday, August 6 at 1pm EST for a live studio event with the Rehoboth Art League 2020 Virtual Fine Art Show when I'll share with you what I'm working on now and answer your questions about my artwork.

Years ago, I traveled to visit a fellow artist and dear friend in Maryland. She's a friend with whom I have a strong connection. We can go for months without talking to each other, but as soon as we reconnect, it's like there's been no gap in our relationship and we can pick up with the same ease and joy as before.

When I arrived at her home, we immediately climbed the two flights of steps up to her top-floor studio and then spent the first couple of hours of our time together discussing her paintings, both completed and in process, plus recent art industry magazines as well as new favorite books. We've known each other for over 15 years, and it was early in our friendship when she told me how much she enjoys hanging out with other artists and diving into the question, "What are you working on?"

Her comment really stuck with me. Unlike many other professions, artists are sometimes perceived as not having a "real job" or a "real schedule." So the simple acknowledgment of, "What are you working on?" offers not only a bridge of interest, but an implicit nod to the very real work that goes into doing what we do.

This summer has been unlike any other that I've experienced in my time as a professional artist. As someone who usually travels up and down the East Coast to outdoor art shows, I've suddenly found myself in a whole different work routine because of the pandemic. The good news is that I finally have the time to dive into painting ideas that I've held onto for years but to which I could never give adequate time to explore in the midst of my art show schedule. I also have plenty of time to garden without having to rely upon our neighbors' children to keep things watered, a reliance that has sometimes produced uneven results.

In a couple of days, I'll give a live studio tour on Facebook Live with the Rehoboth Art League during their virtual 2020 Fine Art Show. I'll share what I'm working now on as well as answer any questions that you have about my artwork. The live video will be on Thursday, August 6 at 1pm EST and you can join me via my Facebook page or through the Rehoboth Art League Facebook page. See you then!