Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Meadow's Edge was made during my year as
Artist in Residence at Salt Spring State Park
in 2004.

The majority of my plein air paintings have been done in Pennsylvania and they all have trees in them. For those of you not living in Pennsylvania, trees seem to spring to maturity overnight here. My studio sits on a ten acre parcel and I muse about just how many trees I actually own; tens of thousands easily. They shade and heat the studio. I curse their falling branches and the speed with which they shade my rosebushes. I welcome the birds they harbor & feed. In this painting I think we are looking at gray birch, black cherry, white pines, sugar maples and a few dozen others. SOLD

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New York

For several years I was invited to paint in Central Park with a national group of plein air painters. This painting was done in 2004 on the west side of the park.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Mexico

May 2000 Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM~
Having decided that 630 commissioned house portraits were more than enough, I signed up for a week long workshop with Jane Shoenfeld to jump-start my next career; self-directed pastel painting.

I showed up with my brand spanking new French easel, some papers and a new box of soft pastels. I was a little's not natural flying with a pastel set-up but I managed to arrive with the gigantic, way too heavy suitcase full of art supplies.

I knew right away I had made an excellent choice in teachers. Jane proved to be positive and encouraging in her guidance and suggestions. I couldn't wait to get through her brief morning lecture and start working on a beautiful butte overlooking the desert. Besides the sand fleas loving the slacks I wore, the morning went fairly well. We broke for lunch and, neophyte that I was, I left my easel set up. During lunch at the dining hall under the cottonwoods I could hear the breeze was picking up. Worried about my easel toppling, I hurried back. Relieved that I could see it still standing on the middle horizon, I picked up my pace, but not in time. About twenty paces in front of me a gust grabbed it and threw my work into the red earth. Nothing important was lost; the pastel sticks were mostly broken, which is the way I have always chosen to work with them ever since; the painting was scratched & damage there, and the easel was...and still is a little bent in places, but serviceable. I learned Rule #1; Never trust the calm side of the wind. I wish I could say I've never broken that rule since, but that would be a lie. It is a humbling exercise to be picking one's pastels from amongst the grass & gravel, but I apparently need to be cut down to size occasionally.

I learned many more lessons about plein air painting that week and made some paintings I was happy with. I traipsed all over Georgia O'Keeffe country. I made my first ever truly successful night scene, Chimney Rock. I fell in love with a red heeler named Chica. And I was fired-up for more pastel painting out of doors and more trips o the Southwest.

This little painting is Box Canyon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Jersey

1978 Beach Haven, NJ~
To my knowledge this is my first plein air painting
(as opposed to outdoor sketching). I was 32, not yet a mother; I sat on a piling to paint this spontaneous watercolor of flower gardens in front of some bay-side cottages. It has been hanging on the studio bathroom wall for 30 years, where you may have seen it.

At the time I had recently moved to rural NE Pennsylvania from Philadelphia and I was about to launch my new "career" of House Portraiture, in which I painted on commission over 630 watercolors and pen & inks of client's homes, businesses, hunting cabins, favorite places and even a golf course and a mobile home! Twenty years later in 2000 I knew that this type of forced labor had not only paid many a grocery bill, but I had learned everything it could teach me. The problems it presented were routine as had become my solutions to them.
It was time for a new challenge.

I decided to paint only what I wanted and hoped to sell mostly from my own studio. Finally, my work was enabling (requiring) me to get out doors to paint my chosen landscape subjects. I needed to break the bad habits I'd developed in working from photos. I craved the experiences of the fresh air, seeing the subtle colors deep in the shadows, depicting atmosphere and air quality. I launched this millennial change of course in the southwest.