Sunday, November 28, 2010


Unbeliveable! Two posts in one month. I have to do better than that.......
These are onions. And little onions at that, only a couple inches high. Ah, well.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Looking East

Gosh, I've been busy. Really. If nothing else, I brought in 150 pounds of honey from my two hives. I'm so glad things look to be calming down so I can get back to painting. I bought some of my favorite medium, a combo of oil and mastic varnish. I can't wait to start using it. I never feel good when I am away from this too long.
The painting is a street scene in Milwaukee. Sorry it is so blurry, I had a really hard time with glare, so it is what is is.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Plein aire .. the falls, part 2

Plein aire is French for open air. I had to look that up. I don't speak French, even though I paint in Plein aire, so I guess I paint in French....... ummm...... Anyway, this is a view of the falls and I am mighty pleased with myself. The little tiny canvas looks a whole lot like the real thing. This is good. Now I just need to go back and put in the trees branches and I'll have a nifty little painting.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Drawing a cast( part 1)

Back to drawing a cast. This is a still life, sorta. Its a cast of a sculpture by (I think) Michaelangelo. Artists draw casts to practice and refine their drawing skills. Its not all that inspiring until you hit the point of obsession, but by then obsession is the least of your worries. By that time, you are so caught up in it that all conversational skills cease to exist, your social life falls away, and you are given to worrying about the quality of artist charcoal in the 21st century. Think I'm kidding? I once considered making my own charcoal because I couldn't get darks that were rich enough. I wound up importing charcoal from a charcoal maker in Dorset, UK called(of course) the Dorset Charcoal Co. His charcoal is very, very nice and it comes in study cardboard boxes that are actually practical and they last. The website is pretty interesting, too. And remember to check the links section,too. Wanna learn to make your own charcoal? Jim Bettle is your man. The fact it would cost me thousands to fly across the ocean to his class is only incidental.

Well if you did cast drawing you would understand. And I would have someone to talk to about the general lack of quality charcoal in the 21st century. And together we could import more charcoal from Dorset.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ukrainian hives

This is a wonderful example of the painters craft. It's an interesting subject turned into a very nice painting by a Polish Impressionist,( Jan Stanisławski "Beehives in the Ukraine", c. 1895, oil on canvas, 19 x 29 cm, National Museum, Cracow). The colors and texture in this painting really capture the mood of an early autumn day. They look like funny little gnome huts, but actually they are beehives that are made out of logs. They are from the Ukraine and I really want one, although I'll bet harvesting the honey from one of them can get pretty tricky. The painting is gorgeous, and the painter really captures that
warm light and the dry, crunchy-leafed feel of September.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beekeeping in the 1500's

16th century beekeepers. Look at the guy on the right prying the bottom off the bee skep. I always wondered how they got into those things. And I like the bee suits they are wearing-- they look like they are all one piece. The cloth must have been very thin so they could see out, and they certainly didn't have any problem with bees crawling up their pants legs because they were wearing leggings(or are they?!?). The only thing that is scary is that they don't have gloves. ouch. Well, that and the fact they look like they don't have faces, that's a little disconcerting.
And way on the right is a little guy who wandered in and had to climb up a tree to get away from the cranky bees who didn't like their homes disrupted.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Oh no! I think it maybe bee fever.

Bee fever. Its real and it's incurable in it's early (and maybe in all) stages. It just has to run it's course, and may never be completely eradicated from its victim. I just spent four hours driving to buy an upper story for the hives. The girls are going to need more room as they are multiplying rapidly. The man at the bee store said, "you know, there is more to life than bees. There is a whole world out there with many many things that have nothing to do with bees." Can that really be true?
I also tasted a little bit of the honey the girls made. Oh yum.
This is a picture of one of the frames with capped brood cells that contain baby bees. This is a good thing.
Bee fever. I has it.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

And now for something completely different........

I've decided to keep bees. The reaction to this project has ranged from "I will pray for you" to the simple question "why?" coupled with a look of horror. Well, it's great for the environment, and I can, theoretically, get all the honey I want, so there is no downside, except when they sting you on your foot. Which they did, and plus they crawled up my pants leg, which wasn't really a good feeling, all things considered. But my bee-buddy Paul just said that that made me a real beekeeper, so it was alright. In truth, there was some yelling and bad words on my part, but that was just the fear and pain talking, and now I feel much better.
I visited the girls( honeybees are females, mostly) yesterday and after only three weeks in their hives( two hives) they have made me the proud grandma of two and one half frames of capped brood per hive. Paul says this is very, very good, and soon I can put an addition on the hive, because in two weeks the babies will hatch and the number of bees will double. That means I will have 32,000 bees and maybe more.
The top picture is me putting bees in a hive for the first time. They come in wooden cages, you open them up and shake them out into their new home, just like they were pennies in a penny jar. Then you put in the queen bee, give them something to eat and let nature take its course. The second picture is the girls doing the bee thing and being busy. So far, they seem to like their new home.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


These are scarves/shawls I designed and have named Angel Wraps. They are 72" x 22" and printed right now on polyester silk for easy cleaning. Originally I began with the concept of the wearer being wrapped in the wings of an angel and the scarves were meant for cancer patients, survivors, and their families. As I showed them to friends, they started suggesting more and more uses, including use by persons with disabilities, and just people celebrating happy occasions. One person thought that wearing one would encourage her piano students! Another thought that people in rehab would think they were cool. Psychics/lightworkers seem to like them too, so I guess I got the thumbs-up from the other side!
I am using a short-run printing company and that means that I can customize the scarves if people want to include names, or poems, or even prayers.
Anyway, I am getting my first shipment back from the printer today. I'm so excited!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Table top

This is a really small picture 8x10 inches(20x25 cm). not quite finished, but I have been working on a project ... a secret project!!... and I thought I wanted to post something between now and the time I show everyone what else I have been doing. It shouldn't be long ... a week or two at the most.


$75.00 + shipping

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tundra Swans

This is unbelievable to me. Look at these swans. They are Tundra Swans. At least I think that they are. I put in a close up photo too. They were so beautiful and there was flock in a farmers field. Its the one time I wished I had a telephoto lens with me. It was just north of Waupun Wisconsin.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Radishes part2

Ok, I was desperately ignoring a certain radish post, hoping that I wouldn't have to explain that the painting, um, didn't work out so well.
Those babies were murky, dense, uncooperative as subjects, and downright obstinate when it came to posing. Luckily, they were much more suited to being stuffed between two pieces of bread and eaten for lunch. However, I did start on another version, hoping to make more sense of things and this time they became white radishes and make a little better showing, I think.
I am going to try and post it below, but that usually doesn't work, so the new painting is (probably) up above somewhere. Totally out of my control, btw.
I think it'll work this time. On the other hand I always think that.
On the third hand.... I kinda like the red radishes too. I was having such a hard time with the background, it all just started looking like a giant mud puddle. Maybe I could work a solution for the red radishes that wouldn't fall apart on me.

Friday, March 12, 2010


This is done with Adobe Illustrator. It's harder to learn than Photoshop, but your payoff is very
rewarding. Here is another link.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I can't believe its been over a month since I posted. Time just flew by. This is a start for a new still life of radishes. I've been working on better starts, ones that didn't seem so stiff to me, something more painterly. I am pretty happy with this one. Over at YouTube, painter Jos van Riswick has a video of a radish being painted. And of course there are always radish recipes like this one here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Honey Comb part 2

Done. I liked doing the honey comb, but the plate was the very interesting to paint too. You don't realize the subtle shadows on such an ordinary object until you try to paint it. All of a sudden it becomes an intricate puzzle of interlocking shapes.
BTW, the honeycomb is delicious.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Honey Comb

A start for a new painting of honey comb. I made it rather rough because honey comb is rough,
almost like an iceberg in miniature. It will smooth out some in the painting, and the plater will get more plate-like too.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

My Parrot is Stuck to my Coffee Grinder....

My African Gray, Amanda, has decided to sit on the handle of my coffee grinder and I cannot get her to leave. She thinks its a fun thing to do( I guess) and its even more fun to see me try and make her move. Birds used to be dinosaurs, and I think they know it. They sure are smart, and dinosaurs must have been amazing. I've been carrying her and the coffee grinder around all afternoon. I was going to paint a still life of her and set her up in a pose, but then I changed my mind and just decided to snap these photos. When she was sitting next to the computer she was following the cursor with her bill. She is so funny.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Illustration Friday "Renewal"

This was done for the meme "Illustration Friday" and it gave me the chance to use some new
software called Alchemy. It's a drawing program, it's open source and free, and it is so much fun to use. Anyone interested in digital drawing should take a look at this program. Its compatible with Photoshop, Painter, and Illustrator in case you want to take your drawing farther.
It has a feature where the shapes are controlled by sound, so by playing a combination of Bach and Ry Cooder I came up with this drawing. Well, OK, not exactly. But it really does have a feature controlled by sound, and the music playing on your computer does influence the type of line you produce.
The topic for this was Renewal. It's been Zero degrees outside for days. All I have been able to think of are flowers coming up in Spring.

Its Spring!

I found these in a garden center, nestled in the Astilbe.