"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Nation's Capital - Part 2

The next stop on our Washington DC trip was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. 

A lunar lander on the left - these vehicles made 6 successful landings and takeoffs on the moon between 1969 and 1972  with two astronauts aboard. Overhead is the single engine, single seat plane of Charles Lindbergh (the Spirit of St Louis). He flew it on the first trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927.

Neil Armstrong's actual spacesuit from the Apollo 11 moon landing! It gave me goose bumps to see it and realize the immense goals that human beings are capable of achieving.

The spacecraft that launched the US space program, this is Friendship 7, the capsule that John Glenn piloted into Earth orbit in 1962. I was astonished at how small it is. The astronaut inside could not be taller than 5 ft 11 inches and John Glenn joked that "You didn't get in it-you put it on".

The world's first successful airplane - the Wright Flyer - 1903.

A view looking heaven-ward in the Hall of Missiles.

If you are interested in flight, space exploration or the history of aviation, I guarantee you will love this museum!

There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate the holidays but our evening at the Kennedy Center to hear The National Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis conductor perform the Messiah was an event, an experience, I will never forget and the absolute highlight of our Washington trip.

A view down the length of the entry hall.
Inside the concert hall as the musicians gathered

The Washington Chorus

 The music was extraordinary and performed with palpable emotion and complete excellence. Adriana Churchman sang the soprano parts and I am convinced her voice must come directly from heaven - it was a total joy to hear her flawless, soaring singing. Needless to say, this evening filled me with optimism and hope for all of mankind and I will try to carry that forth with me into the New Year. Hearing this performance was a Christmas gift I will always remember. It was worth the entire trip to the Capital just to be able to listen to this music.

More of our trip to come but I will also show you a recent painting I will title -  Happy Holidays Two Ewe!

Happy Holidays Two Ewe / oil on linen panel / 11x14

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Christmas Trip to the Nations Capital!

My husband and I just returned from a whirlwind Christmas trip to Washington DC. It must have been windy in Reno while we were gone as we returned to find a huge mound of tumbleweeds up against our front door. Our first order of business was to clean them up and restore the yard to order!

Eager to get back to the easel, I did two quick portrait studies for warm up.
Rosy Cheeks / oil on linen /  12x16

Practice /old corrugated cardboard / 12x8

Our trip to Washington was exciting, fun and jam packed! 

This is a photo taken at dusk from our hotel room overlooking Constitution Avenue.

The building with the tall clock tower is the old US Post Office now refurbished into the Trump International Hotel.

On our first day, we spent the morning touring the Pentagon. It was a unique experience - very high security  with no photography allowed. In the afternoon  we toured the Capital building, the Rotunda and Hall of Statues. 

Inside the Rotunda showing some of the iconic historical murals painted by artist John Trumbull, a Veteran and personal aide to General Washington during the Revolutionary War.

180 feet up, the dome of the Rotunda features The Apotheses of Washington painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865 showing Washington flanked by figures representing Liberty, Victory and Freedom . Amazingly the figures are up to 15 feet tall in order to be seen from the floor.

A closer view showing Washington with the lavender robe across his lap

An imposing figure of Andrew Jackson

In my next post, I will show you the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and inside the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Merry Christmas a little early!

A Quandary of Possibilities 18 x 24 oil on linen


and the warmest of wishes for a 


filled with wonder, joy, peace and good health!

As this year comes to a close I find myself filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the life I am living and all the truly wonderful people that I have come to know and love.  Thank you to everyone who has stopped by this blog and given me the gift of commenting on my work. You have deeply enriched my life with your insightful thoughts and generous words. You, and viewing your work, continue to inspire and amaze me and have helped me to stay the course on this not always easy artful journey. With a grateful heart I thank you.

I will be traveling for the next couple of weeks and this will be my last blog entry until I return after Christmas. I will show you a practice piece that I painted on heavy brown paper this week - perhaps in preparation for a future work I may attempt on canvas. 

A Man and His Cats / oil on paper / 18.5 x 29 inches
 And a crop - perhaps this is a better composition? 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

New Paintings and a Trip to Hoover Dam

Some newer work

Distinct Levels of Energy / oil on linen panel / 12 x 24

Irina / oil on linen / 18 x 14

Snow Run /  oil on canvas 18 x 14

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a short trip to Las Vegas and had a chance to visit the Hoover Dam - what a wonder of engineering and what a unique experience . We took the tour and went down, down, down to the bottom interior level to view the actual turbine generators (17 of them) and walk through some of the original tunnels blasted out of rock with dynamite. It is an almost impossible accomplishment of engineering (built in 1930’s using slide rulers to do the math) and finished 2 years ahead of schedule. The dam has been in continuous operation and supplies hydroelectric generated power to a large part of the southwestern US, is pollution free and runs self-sufficiently using no tax money. I have suddenly become a big fan of hydroelectric power!

Looking toward Nevada and Lake Mead - the intake of the water is through these two large towers.

The outflow into the Colorado River.

The turbine generators.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Horses, Portraits and Lake Tahoe

 Back to the subject of horses! This is one of my favorite subjects and I am always drawn back to painting them time and time again. 

Oil on canvas panel / 16 x 20 

Oil on linen panel / 12 x 16

And some recent portraiture as well.

Mahri / 12 x 16 / oil on chipboard

Max / 12 x 12 / oil on chipboard

The brisk Autumn weather has been so lovely that my husband and I decided to drive to Lake Tahoe to do some hiking. We discovered a brand new trail that meanders along the Nevada side of the lake then follows the Truckee River back toward Reno. It is many dozens of miles long and we only hiked about 2 miles but the views were superb. The lake water is crystal clear and is a brilliant turquoise near the shoreline. It was a spectacular day!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Dog and his Woman

14 x 18 / oil on linen 
An addition to my dog and human series.  And a close up view of the woman's face.

I have been thinking recently about remarkable moments in my art journey and one that stays with me occurred the first time I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as a young girl. I remember having a day all to myself and deciding to visit the museum. Spending a wonderful few hours there, I finally wandered into the European Art of the 19th Century section. Turning a corner heading from one room to the next, I was suddenly confronted by the larger than life Dead Christ with Angels by Edouard Manet. Perhaps it was the subject matter, or the intensely realistic depiction, or the play of light across the body with the face in shadow but, stopping in my tracks, I gasped at the horrible reality of what I was seeing combined with the incredible beauty of the painting. It was a shocking assault on my senses and one I have never forgotten. It was quite a moment - filling me with a rush of powerful emotion that stays with me even today. A piece of painted canvas transforming my whole experience and allowing me to appreciate a vision and a talent through my own senses. This is what great Art is all about.

Dead Christ with/Angels/ Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC/ 1864/ Edouard Manet

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Dog and her Man

A Dog and Her Man - oil on linen / 16 x 20

Still trying to find my way. A while ago I had started a series about people with their dogs and this one fits into that genre.

Two paintings done a short time ago from this same series:

12 x 12 / Oil on linen

14 x 18/ oil on linen

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Never Stop Learning

After about two weeks of daily struggle and disappointment with nearly a dozen wipe off paintings,  I finally let this one stay on the canvas. I don't know what my problem has been. Perhaps lack of inspiration as the hot days of summers end lay heavily upon us and seem to sap both strength and creativity. Or just one of those cycles where the paint brush and the mind of the artist are not in sync. I have found that the best way to get through these down times is not to obsess too much but to just keep on painting. My experience is that eventually you will break through. And so I am hoping this odd little portrait will be my first step on the road back.

HG Wells / oil on chipboard / 12 x 12
 I also treated myself to an hour or so inside Barnes & Noble - still a favorite place - and picked up this little gem of an art book.

I have only just begun to go through it but am discovering that, after a brief introduction, there are lessons and philosophical meandering by many of the instructors at the Art Students League of NY. Each lesson is unique, thoughtful and quite practical. I am thoroughly enjoying this book!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Little Catching Up

My two large ballerina paintings have settled in to their new places in my home. This one in the living room on a wall that was just begging for a painting.

 And this one in the foyer at the top of the stairs.

And to stay cool and out of the heat,  I have spent some time on figurative and portrait practice and some hound dogs!.

Joleen / oil on board, 12x16


Scottish Artist with his Creations / oil on board / 12x12

Hounds at Play Among the Flowers / oil on linen / 12 x 16
Comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated!