Painting in Winter

Beach Running

Running Beach Dogs

All the snowy weather has given me the time (and no chance of an excuse) to paint more. I’ve been working on a new canvas and thought I’d share the evolution of my work. My paintings on paper evolve much faster than these canvas works…not sure why, but it’s true. Perhaps it’s just the time it takes for a canvas to dry enough to allow more painting makes the process more tedious and maybe more finished. don’t know…but here goes! If you enjoy the process, look for more updates as I work on this canvas!

Art History lesson

I have wanted to share some artists who inspired me and set me on this art path…so, here goes!
My grandmother was very creative and the person who raised me when I was very young. She gardened, made her own hats, made movies of her travels to Mexico and Hawaii, and painted dishware. She also worked full time!
When I went to live with my mother I was in the 4th grade. There was a lot of adjusting to do. I was moved from a rural home to an apartment in downtown Seattle. I attended public school for the first time. My mom figured out that butcher paper on the wall was necessary or I was going to draw on the wall paper! So I had a place to create from the start. I also had a great 5th grade art teacher. One day she showed a movie about how to create a watercolor…I was mesmerized!
When I married, I seemed to have lost my art self. We lived in Corvallis Oregon and my husband was going to Graduate School. I worked in a small bank. There was this small book store close to work and I’d go there sometimes on my lunch time. One day I came across this book about Nicolas De Stael. I was mesmerized again! Even though we had little money, I had to go back and buy this small book. Nicolas woke up my buried desire to paint. I’ve never been the same!

Blue Dogs in Summer

It’s been pretty hot in the Kansas City area….and pretty much everywhere else too. The Blue Dogs painting was inspired by my attempt to feel cool…it does seem to help. Acrylic on canvas 40X30″.
Also needing to take a brake from the work on “Give Me That Dog” project. I did save the most complicated stories and photos for the 2nd book, so they just take more time. I’m about to paint an illustration of a chihuahua<a href=" guarding a pit bull …..

Change of Seasons

Now I have several paintings to do, and I have the canvas primed and ready to go, but I have no energy! I think it must be the shorter kind of dreary days of fall.  We’ve spent some time repairing a wall in our store and everything is looking fresh and new.  I could take some inspiration from this feeling and actually do a painting about this change of season.  I’m writing this down to remind myself that I feel this way every year.

Mind Dance is a painting I did in 1997.  I’m sure I was feeling the same way then as I do now. It’s comforting to know that I’m seasonally consistent. Writing journals are great, but sometimes a painting is simply greater at catching a feeling.


Painting is a conversation. Sometimes the conversation stops…and then, later, it begins again. The room in the painting was too empty. Nothing like my life!  Now it is full of the memories of past  and present dogs in my mind…and even some of the dogs I’ve met along the way…a whole company of dogs. Now it seems like a good conversation. I’m  nearly finished with this canvas.


Transporting large canvas paintings

When I began to have shows in the Kansas City area in the 1990’s, I realized that a passenger car was not going to work. Many of my canvas pieces were 48X58″ and I just needed something larger than a regular car.  I went online and searched for used cars.  It was somehow easier then (1998) than it seems to be now…but I found a used Safari Van and traded my Honda in for this great Safari van that I could haul t-shirts, paintings, dogs, small furniture….whatever I wanted!  We even drove to a Backer Show in Atlantic City …packed to the gills with t-shirts display stands, signs, suitcases and two dogs.

Two years ago, ….just when Cash for Clunkers finally came online, that van became a prospective clunker when we were on our way to a dog show in Omaha, Nebraska! The Monday after our nervous return to the Kansas City area,  I traded my  usually trusty Safari in and  got a great Honda Insight that gets great gas mileage …and is kind of a computer on wheels.  But, no 48X58″ painting would fit in the Insight! This became a road block for my painting on canvas.  I worked on smaller canvas.  Even though some were successful, I really missed the larger space of a big canvas.

Yesterday we went shopping for a car that  I could put a large painting in…and we found one!  A Toyota Scion!  With tape measure in hand we walked around the Toyota lot inspecting  trunk openings. Now I can paint big paintings again!  It’s a wonderful thing.  I realize that the limitation of the transportation problem also affected my canvas painting.  Sounds silly, but…physical reality can get in the way of creative thinking.

Canvas Preparation for a New Painting

The painting process requires some rigorous  work before the paint brush or the idea arrive in my hand and head.   I’m progressing forward to a show in Gladstone, Mo. this winter  in the month of December.  I was very wrapped up in the paper pieces I did for the “Give Me that Dog” project, so when I returned to larger canvas painting,  I’d forgotten how much prep work that can be!  This afternoon I’ve stretched one canvas and prepared several pre-stretched canvas so that when the idea comes, the surface will be ready to go!  Good ideas are hard to come by and also…to hang on to especially if  I have to spend lots of time doing the preparation of a canvas.  Even the pre-stretched canvas from  Utrecht art supplies require a couple of coats of  Gesso before I can begin to paint.

mystical dog with cat

This painting started with a figure and a dog and cat…Now, only the evidence of a human remains and everything is at peace.  An unfinished, unresolved painting is very disturbing so I return again and again until there is enough resolution to move on to another painting.  I’m feeling pretty good about this “Mystical Dog with Cat”. Time to start a new painting! (Aug.1, 2011)

dog and cat nap in a world of their own