Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Everything you do today will inform what you do tomorrow.

I'm inspired by wake robins, the quintessential flowers of spring, as they bloom in the woods where I live. The trillium tell me spring is here — or at least the promise of spring. So I sketch and paint them.

Here's an example  from my journal pages:

And this one that started as a demo and evolved into a painting I just love! It started on 140 pound watercolor paper, treated with matte medium. That technique allows paint to puddle and form oozle "gems" as it dries. It is sketched with a Lyra water soluble graphite pencil.

Then I marbled it... and it virtually glows. Look how the colors in the marbling both hide and highlight the painting color.

So now that the trillium are blooming again, I dug a couple from my orchard to bring in to paint.
I want to go BIG! And LOOSE!
Here's the painting that resulted, — full sheet and still unfinished. I may marble over this one, too!

Everything is connected and one thing leads to another. 

With trilliums in mind, I glanced at a Sockeye painting, and that started me thinking about salmon. Now I'm imagining fish painted in the style of these trilliums!

But first, more trilliums. I'm making four paintings on 6x6 inch canvases for Village Gallery's Art Challenge fundraiser that opens Saturday, May 9th and trillium seem like the right subject for the technique I want to use.

My process is born of play. It is also inspired by travels to Italy where I’ve cultivated a strong appreciation for antiquity. I’m using the ancient arts of marbling and gilding with my contemporary subject. The trilliums are painted in watercolor with gold gesso background. Then gold leaf is applied - very shiny!

They are marbled in acrylic adding a bit of patterning to subdue the glitz. 


Digital doesn't quite capture the change in the gilding from shiny new to antique, as a glaze is added and they are aged to appear older than the hills. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out!


You are invited to the opening celebration of Village Gallery's ART CHALLENGE 

on Saturday, May 9th, 2-4pm.


Village Gallery is off Salesman Road, just north of Cornell, next to the Cedar Mill Library.
There will be lots of bargains but be advised, they can go fast!

These are $60 each or $225 for the group, an exceptional value considering the time and love in each one. Only because it’s a fundraiser for Village Gallery — and you can only purchase through them.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


We textured, poured washes, stamped and painted — working in a variety of styles. Our manifesto of the day offered us direction. Our almost-daily critiques fueled us with inspiration.  A lot of exceptional artwork was produced!

Here is a sampling of participant paintings — work done during the workshop. Some are very fresh and executed quickly, others more complex and revisited over several days. Aren't they wonderful!

And a few of my paintings, below.

     This sea turtle painted last year and marbled over, just before leaving for Kauai. 

And these are not necessarily finished...
     Giant hibiscus — a medium or dark background could pop out the highlights in the blossom  (unless Teddy talks me out of it)!

Portrait on textured paper


A poured and textured wave

Check the previous post — photos from our Kauai trip...
For information on next year's retreat CLICK HERE

Friday, February 13, 2015


Kauai is a magical place. It fills us with wonder — the sea, the plants, the creatures!

breadfruit (ulu)

 gecko (mo'o)

 chicken (moa)

There were 14 of us. 
We lived, we laughed, we cooked amazing food and
painted our hearts out — all on the tropical island of Kauai.


Table centerpiece of lychee fruits

Driftwood "dragon" on the beach at Hanalei

I have NO IDEA what this is, but found it floating on the beach.

Children playing.

Adults playing!

We listened to poetry by Sue and Rosemary. 
Here a page from Sue's new book "The Carniverous Gaze
decorated with last year's Hawaiian limpets!

We visited the Limahuli Botanical Garden...

...where it rained! I'm ducking for cover. 

But the sun blessed us most of the time this year.

We shopped the farmer's markets... 

...always on the lookout for ripe fruit — or a photo op! 

A special moment, finding a favorite artist showing in a local gallery. 
We visited the Kilauea lighthouse.

Laura added immensely to every facet. Her baking was awesome!

We have dates already for next year's Kauai adventure... 
Sun, Jan 24 - Fri, Feb 5, 2016.

A slideshow of our KAUAI artwork is coming soon!


Distracted with work on a marbling video and with teaching in Kauai, I haven't been blogging as much as I would have liked. The upside is that I have had an opportunity to work on several pieces I've been wanting to marble plus working on a few new paintings. Stay tuned for more examples.

This is the marbled painting you saw in my last post. I don't love it at this stage, but there's way too much fun happening here to give up!

Below is the piece again, after painting over it with gouache and watercolor! Notice how the shape of the head and beak have changed and how the body is now defined. Adding white feathers over the marbling, along with a bit of darkening of the background near the shoulders creates that definition while the underlying marbled pattern lends cohesiveness and complexity to the piece.


Monday, December 1, 2014



A word often used to describe something that is average, but was expected to be much better. Ordinary, uninspired, forgettable, amateurish...

This is not how I normally like to think about my work.  But here's the thing: Unless you are willing to take risks — to fail, if necessary — you're not allowing yourself to really succeed! 

Above is a painting of a swan, in acrylic. I didn't love it.

While marbling over it helped, it didn't completely "fix" it. 

Marjorie Johnson, who was taking my workshop at the time, said "Well, you can't turn a pig into a princess" ! So true. But what I love about this process is the journey. 

And we don't know 
yet where this painting might go...

This kingfisher I also painted in acrylic before marbling. 

The marbling originally was too contrasty, so I and added a wash of white gouache to subdue it and put the fish in the bird's mouth with watercolor. 
It's currently at OSA's show, 200 for under $200. 

This barn owl was painted as a demo at the Painters Showcase art show in September. Marbling added interest but it was still not fabulous until I overpainted with my "black" mix to create contrast for the head and stamped a feather pattern. 
The result — an award winner at the OSA show!

So, go ahead and set a high bar. Expect to excel, but accept whatever happens with the understanding that it's the doing that is important. And the learning

I'm never going to love everything I paint. But how else will I know what direction to take my work unless I give myself room to experiment? And play.

I found this crocus while cleaning my studio... not necessarily a BAD painting, but I don't LOVE it!  Marbling might help. I could also cover it with watercolor ground and start over, if it doesn't! All I know is, it will evolve.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Much has happened this summer that I'm still hoping to catch you up on.
mostly TEACHING...
  Self Portraits at Hood River — with the Creative Arts Community at Menucha — Marbling at OSA
But this post is on AWARDS. When they rain, they pour!

FIRST I was awarded third place for "Marbled Crane" by juror Diane Kruger 
at the Painter's Showcase art show last month. 
The painting is on an 8x10 cradled panel, 
and went from plain to pizzaz with a coat of marbling, 
applied in a demo at Menucha.

AND the members of Painters Showcase voted on their favorite painting, and chose 
"Treading Lightly Among Old Souls" for the Florence Thurman award — an awesome honor!  
This one is a full sheet, combining photos taken in Italy.
The portrait is of my friend Sharon Rackham King.

THEN last weekend WSO juror Linda Daly Baker gave my painting "Brownlee Moment" 
an award of excellence, meaning it will go with the 
traveling show around the state! 
It is a beautiful show, and if you were there to meet Linda you know how 
gracious she was with her critiquing and so giving of her expertise.
This painting is of my husband, Tom, caught in the magic hour 
as we hiked above the reservoir 
along the Idaho/Oregon border. It's a half sheet.

YESTERDAY I learned I took second place at the Village Gallery for "Tranquility"
which also won people's choice at last Spring's WSO Show 
(one of the very best honors in my book). Full sheet.

Now if I can find time to update the images onto my website gallery! And even more important — find time to paint.

Oh, and if you haven't already, check out the Oregon Botanical Artist website
mastered brilliantly by our own Janet Parker. 

You'll see postings of our paintings from the David Douglas show at the Bush Art Barn 
through October 17.
It will travel to the Washington County Museum in Hillsboro in November!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


It was a drizzly Friday, when a few happy painters met 
at garden designer Kip Nordstrom's to paint — 
one that put the WATER in watercolor. It also added lovely droplets to the roses!

Fortunately the giant fir trees served as umbrellas! 
When a few tiny droplets came through, they created interesting textural patterns. 

I did a demo of a brunnera 'Jack Frost' that I'd sketched...

... also these lilies and alliums in a looser style. 
What I love about journaling is it's just for fun. No need to try for perfection here. 
Misty droplets on the edges make sure of that!

Kip made some yummy fresh scones that we had with tea and coffee 
up in her above garage studio — 
so well equipped that several of us decided that we could live there!

And then the mist lifted.

We scattered around and painted... 
what a lovely setting to work in, with color bursts everywhere

Kip, thanks for sharing your garden and your photos with us!

Painting at Bella Madrona!