Form & Fruit - Student Paintings

I'm just beginning to teach my fourth Watercolor Fundamentals class at Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene, Oregon.  And tonight I'm teaching Session 2 which covers the idea of painting form.  Because this is a beginning level class, we start very simply.  I have them draw three circles on a piece of watercolor paper, and then…

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Teaching at Maude Kerns Art Center In Eugene

I'm just starting to teach my second watercolor at Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene, Oregon.  So I thought I would write about how this came about, and what my first class was like.  

In March I applied to teach a watercolor class for Maude Kerns Art Center.  They are the oldest art center in Eugene, and may be one of the oldest in the state of Oregon.  I went in for an interview and got the job! The class is an eight week class, taught once a week on Wednesday evenings from 6-8:30 pm.  The class is offered three times a year, Spring, Fall, and Winter.

I had three weeks from my date of hire until the class would begin, so I spent my waking hours and some of my sleeping hours preparing for the class.  I ended up with nine students, most of whom had not painted in watercolor before.  Some of them had no drawing experience either. There was a mix of ages, and it was a very nice group of people. 

I took them step by step through the process of learning watercolor painting, but I also covered composition, value and color to help them create good paintings.  They did a wonderful job and I had a great time over the 8 weeks getting to know each person, and seeing their work develop.

Here is a sampling of my student's work from the Spring 2017 class.

On the final evening we put up our work from the whole class, and it was quite an impressive display of what each student had done.  

It was a very exciting time, and I'm enjoying the start of whole new group of students...14 this time around!  Stay tune for more...

2016 in Review

Well, as 2016 comes near the end, I wanted to write a brief posting as I look back over a momentous year.  It was a year of firsts for me in my art career, and it was very exciting and satisfying.

The year began with my entry into a lovely gallery on the coast of Oregon.  I was able to have several paintings there, and it was a positive experience, and a great opportunity for me.  However, in October a tornado hit the town of Manzanita, a rare happening, and did some damage to the gallery.  The artists needed to remove all their work for now, as repairs are being made.  I had 4 framed pieces and 4 matted pieces there, and amazingly, none of them were damaged.  So for now, I am waiting to hear what will happen with the gallery in 2017.

I did quite a bit of painting throughout the year, some for the gallery, some for projects, and I did more quick paintings during my travels.  It was a productive year for my painting.  As part of my growth in painting, I was able to fulfill a dream of having a week long painting retreat.  I wrote about this in an earlier post, but it was a highlight during my year.

In October, as mentioned in my last blog post, I taught my first watercolor workshop.  That was another dream that came true, and I'm hoping that I will be able to do more of this in 2017.

I also developed my skills in silk painting, and was able to complete a three scarf commission.  I am currently working on a business plan for creating more silk scarves, and I'm excited for the possibilities in the new year.

So as you can see, it has been a busy year, and a good one for my work!  I'm now looking ahead to the new year, and developing new goals.

I hope that 2016 was a good year for you, and that the New Year will be even better!

Thanks for your support & encouragement as always.


Teaching a Watercolor Workshop!

On October 8th & 9th, I taught my first watercolor workshop at the Hoffman Art Center in Manzanita, Oregon.  I had 6 students, and it was a workshop that I developed for beginning watercolor students.  Most of my students were beginners in both watercolor and drawing, and each student was successful in learning and building their skills.

The Hoffman Art Center had a very nice facility for teaching, and they had a showing of some of my tropical watercolor paintings for the two weeks prior to my workshop.

 The setup before class began.

The setup before class began.

The first day I covered composition, basic color theory, creating limited color palettes, and some basic painting techniques like wet-into-wet.  The students created still life paintings from life using various fruits and vegetables, and some lovely pottery pieces that local potter, Steven Gibson, generously let us use.  Here are a couple of student paintings from that first day.

The second day we worked from photographs that the students brought in.  I talked about the differences when painting from photographs versus painting from life.  I also talked more about value, that is, the lights and darks in a painting.  I had asked the students to bring in their photos in black and white as well as color.  Here are the second paintings from the same two students.

The workshop was a great success, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  All of the students were wonderful to work with, and I hope that they continue to paint.  I was asked to come and teach again by the students, so I am very much hoping that I can do this in 2017.

Painting Retreat in September 2016

I was so fortunate to be able to take a week and have a private painting retreat in September.  My friends Angela and Mike generously let me stay at their lovely beach house in Oceanside, Oregon. I arrived on a sunny Sunday afternoon and got settled in.  I had a large open space to work in, and from Monday through Thursday I spent all day painting. 

I was able to be completely focused on painting, and I worked on 10 different paintings throughout my time there.  Some of them were quick paintings, and some were more complicated, and I didn't necessarily finish them.  But finishing paintings wasn't my goal.  My goal was to see what kind of emotional and mental space I could get into when I was totally focused on painting.

I spent time writing about painting as well, and tried to observe what I was experiencing.  I went into the week with a plan, but I decided to give up the plan, and just see what each day would bring.  I tried to let go and not put expectations on myself, and honestly some of my quick paintings worked out better, then my bigger more complex paintings.

I also worked on a seascape of the beach there at Oceanside, something I hadn't planned to work on.  Landscapes (seascapes) are very difficult for me, and it was good practice to work on one.  I painted it 3 times in two days, and learned some things.  None of them were completely successful as paintings...but I did improve.

I learned things about painting, and I learned things about myself.  It was a wonderful and rich time for me, and I hope to do this again some time in 2017.

The Latest News - June 2016

Here are some new things that are happening in my art world.  

My work at 4th Street Studio & Gallery in Manzanita, Oregon

I am now being represented by a wonderful gallery in Manzanita, Oregon.  It's called 4th Street Studio and Gallery, and is owned by Kathleen Kanas, who is a wonderful basket weaver.  Manzanita is just south of Cannon Beach on the north coast of Oregon.  It's a lovely town, and I'm excited to have my work there.

In October 2016 I will be teaching my first watercolor workshop in Manzanita, at the Hoffman Center.  This is very exciting and a bit daunting at the same time, but I am enjoying the process of putting a workshop together.  I will let you know how my preparation is progressing.

Here's a quick update on the Sea Star project.  Plan B fell through as Rogue Brewery did not continue to make it's Purple Sea Star Pale Ale, so the fundraiser at Bier Stein couldn't happen. The good news is that apparently the Sea Stars are making a comeback along the coast!  There are more babies then have been seen in many years.  So that is excellent news! As far as my two paintings, I still have them, and am trying to decide what to do with them. I'll keep you posted.

I also am learning a new medium.  I am creating hand painted silk scarves! This is a lovely art form, but challenging as I am so new to the medium.  Even so, I have completed two commissions, one last Christmas, and one in February.  Now I have another commission of three scarves which are flower designs. One is of fuchsias, one is of sunflowers and poppies, and the third one is of purple bearded irises.  Check back for more information on this new avenue.

So as you can see, there is lots going on.  I have several paintings going right now as well, and will continue to update my website, take new work to the gallery, and progress on my goals.

Thanks for reading!

Fall 2015 Update

I've been busy updating my website today, with new images of paintings that I've done in the past year.  I have been busy trying some new imagery, along with working on some pieces from my Seasons of Life series that I would like to continue.

Check out the new work section of my website and see what I've been up to!

I'd like to update you on my Sea Star project as well.  My contacts with the Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon fell through.  So I've been sitting on my project wondering which direction to go next.  I would ideally like to raise at least $500 for research on this wasting disease that is affecting the sea stars along the West Coast.  I want to give to research specifically in Oregon, since that's where I live.

And I'm excited to have a new possibility.  A local tap room in Eugene, Oregon does a monthly fundraiser for various non-profits.  They spotlight a beer, and then part of the proceeds for the day go to the chosen non-profit.  I have approached the organizer with the idea of spotlighting Rogue Brewery's "Wasted Sea Star Purple Pale Ale."  The Rogue Brewery (out of Newport, Oregon) developed this beer for the purpose of highlighting the plight of the Sea Stars.  For every beer sold a portion goes to research.  Perfect right?  So the idea would be to have the fundraiser for this research, highlighting this beer, and perhaps raffling off my paintings for the extra $500.

Anyway, we have a call into Rogue Brewery with a few questions, and I'm waiting to hear back.  Thanks to my friend Sharon for letting me know about this particular beer.  And I'll let you know if this becomes a go.

Starfish Project - Update

I've always loved the phenomenon that happens when something becomes important or focal in your life, and then suddenly you see it everywhere!  This is happening for me with starfish, although there were premonitions beforehand.  Two years ago I bought a small embroidered starfish pillow at Pottery Barn, as well as a starfish shaped bracelet at a little shop in Huntington Beach, CA.  At the time I was attracted to the starfish as both a design and a statement of something beautiful in nature.  I didn't know at the time that I would be doing paintings of starfish.

Since reading the articles about the wasting disease that is killing off the starfish, and the subsequent inspiration to do a couple of paintings, it seems that I am finding things that have starfish motifs or subjects in a lot of places.  I have purchased another small starfish pillow from Pottery Barn...this one beaded.  I have found another bracelet, a white enameled bangle with gold starfish scattered around it.  I bought a linen shirt in white and blue that included starfish in the print.  I found and read a young adult novel by Madeleine L'Engle entitled "The Arm of the Starfish", which is about the regenerative properties of starfish.

Everywhere I turn, I am finding starfish, and yet the real starfish are still dying in large numbers.  As far as I know they have not found the reason, nor a way to stop it. 

I finally finished my second painting, and on Thursday (Aug 7), I sent an email to the Librarian at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon.  I was referred to her, and am hoping that she might be able to help me find a use for these paintings.  I will keep you posted.  For now, I hope you enjoy this second painting.


 Oregon Ochre Starfish

Oregon Ochre Starfish


I was reading an article in my local newspaper about a "Starfish-killing disease".  This disease causes their arms to fall off, and then turn to goo.  They don't know what causes it.  It has been killing starfish all along the West Coast, but has finally reached Oregon.  It's affecting several types of starfish including the ones we see most often on the Oregon coast, the orange and purple ones, called Ochre Starfish.

Starfish are known for their regenerative properties, in that if they lose an arm, they can grow one back.  But this disease is obviously preventing that from happening.  The article I read says that "scientific divers will be surveying Oregon's coastal waters through October." ( - for a copy of the article)

All of this made me very sad.  I have seen these starfish many times on the coast, and find them beautiful.  So I am inspired to paint some starfish.  I've been working on some ideas, the first of which is finished.  I'm not sure what I want to do with this painting...but I'm thinking that if I get at least one more good starfish painting under my belt, I may explore the idea of donating these paintings as a way for one of these research organizations to make some money.  Perhaps they could make prints and sell them, or use the painting on posters to make the public more aware of this dilemma.  Anyway...I will do some research and see if these paintings could help in any way. 

In the meantime, I'm at least reflecting on the beauty of these creatures.  So here is the first painting I'm working on.  Hope you like it.

 Ochre Starfish - 2014

Ochre Starfish - 2014

A Beginning

Welcome to my new website!  As I was putting this together,  I discovered that there was a blog feature.  So I am attempting to begin my first blog.  I am calling it In & Out as I am hoping to share things that happen in my studio as well as out in the bigger world...related to my art development.

So take a look at my new website.  It has a very clean look, and I'm happy that I found Square Space.  It has been a good process to put this website together.  And I'm looking forward to being able to easily edit this site by adding new images of paintings that I do. 

I am excited about the blog as well.  I will try to write at least once a month...and we'll see how this evolves.

For anyone who is reading...thanks for your interest.  I'll look forward to what comes next...and please feel free to comment at any time.