Wednesday, December 29, 2010


This is the painting that was sold and was
a Christmas present for a lady whose maiden
name was also Susan Liles. She has a nice brother
who bought the painting because the family is
in the electrical and power business.
Had a wonderful Christmas with family and
now spending time with my daughter who is
home for her winter break from school. Hoping
to have more time by the end of January to
paint more when I pass off some of my responsi-
bilities to others. Yeah!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Signature Status-MTWS

Received my certificate this week stating
that I have attained the distinction of
Signature Membership in the Montana
Watercolor Society!
Now I just need to get busy and paint
more paintings and enter other watercolor
society competitions. Also sold a painting
this week!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Top Watercolor Blogs

I received the news that my blog was listed
as one of the "Top Watercolor Painting Blogs"
presented by Online Graphic Design Degree.
Thanks Online Graphic Design for listing my
blog and giving me the encouragement to coninue
painting and posting my work.
Here is the link to see the list of other
watercolor blogs:
Top Watercolor Painting Blogs

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seeking Light

I painted this years ago from a reference
picture that was so dark I could hardly make
out the people. After tweaking the image in
photoshop, I was able to improve the lighting
and make out the individuals. While painting
this scene, I lightened the interior even more.
I was happy with the interior lighting, but
struggled with the people. Love Photoshop, it
can really save some bad photos.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lummi Indian

My start of this painting, happy
with this first wash.

At this stage of the painting
I have developed the facial
structure and still thinking
about how to paint the clothing
which he is wrapped in a large
blanket up to the top of the neck
with a red starred cloth to one side.
Up to this point everything was going
ok, then I decided to use a new mixture
for the color of the dark hair and
everything went down hill from there.
I wasn't listening to that little
voice in me that said "don't do it".
Oh, but I knew better, and thought
I could make it work. Wrong! I now
deserve the prize for the biggest
mudpie painting around!

Monday, October 25, 2010


watercolor- half sheet

Finally finished this painting of lilypads
that has been half finished for months. May
work on it some more after I put it
away for awhile. Been working on another
portrait that has pulled me away from this

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sepia portrait

12" x 16" watercolor

I was asked by Kaiwalya Rangari of India
to paint his portrait in sepia for his
profile picture on facebook. My first
time painting all in sepia.

Monday, September 20, 2010


A study done recently to get back into the
swing of it since I haven't done much
painting this summer. Took a photo of it
before it was done and as I was finishing
up with it I dropped my paint brush on it
and a blob of paint ruined it. So goes my

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Montana Watercolor Society

This painting was accepted into the
Montana Watercolor Society show for this
year which will be in October in the gallery
in Bigfork, Mt. I will now have signature
status with the MTWS, since this is my
third painting accepted.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Having fun painting pansies from the garden.
Yesterday we had hail that smashed most of
the blossoms on my flowers, or should I say
the blossoms that the deer haven't eaten yet.
Montana also had a tornado in Billings. Still
waiting for summer and sunny skies.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I was experimenting with fluid acrylics
and messed it up bad with the background
which is way too busy and the yellow
orange color was not what I intended.
As you can see some purple washes dried
before I could rinse it off. Will redo
this one and re-work the drawing. Always
learning from our mistakes. I did enjoy
getting the batik look in the washes when
you can rinse off the half dried paint.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Eyes Have It

These are some of my sketches of eyes that I
did awhile ago. When painting portraits, the
eyes are usually the center of interest so it
is important to get them right. I need to
sketch everyday because I believe it will
improve your drawings and also your paintings
in how the paint is applied in your brushstrokes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nashville Tennessee Flood 2010

We were in Nashville back in Dec and stayed in a downtown
hotel for a few days. I walked the downtown area and it is
so amazing to see the under reported flooding that occurred
this spring and to see the damage to the places that we
visited like the Opryland Hotel, which was huge, the Grand
Old Opry, downtown at the famous Robert's Bar where we
listened to the local talent, and Opryland Mall. The people
of Nashville were friendly and loved people from Montana,
(we have real cowboys here!) Hope the people of Nashville
recover quickly! Yes Honey, all those guitars are ruined.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Shades of Spring"

watercolor 7" x 9"

Those who won an award in the 2009
Montana Watercolor Society
were asked to paint a watercolor for the
2010 raffle book using the theme of "It's
Hard to be Green" or "Vision". I chose the
theme "vision" and painted this one of my
youngest daughter who was then in high school
at the time the photo was taken. The youth
see the world differently than us old folks
and she admitted the other day how immature
she and those that age were in high school.
The submitted paintings are made into two books
that will be raffled off to raise money for the
MTWS at the show banquet this fall.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Five Years

The picture above is a photoshoped picture of a
robins nest from the backyard, which I was planning
to paint. This symbolizes my life now that all the
kids are grown and gone, my husband and I are "empty
nesters" as they say.
Crstal Cook tagged me on her blog to answer the five
questions about ourselves. I'm a pretty private person,
but will be a good sport and reveal some things about myself.

What were you doing five years ago?

1-I sprained my ankle in the early spring and am still feeling
the aches and pains of cracked cartilage.
2-My youngest daughter is now a freshman in high school
so I had more time to devote to painting. (I home schooled
the two youngest so I only painted when I had time)
3-I started attending a weekly watercolor class.
4-Helping at church with my compassionate service calling.
I was helping organize ladies to do meals, cleaning, or
moving if a member in need needed it.
5-Traveling, & enjoying the family and friends

Where would you like to be five years from now?

1-Painting with more confidence and selling more artwork
2-Entering watercolor shows and receiving signature status.
(will get it with MTWS if accepted again this year)
3-Being recognized by an art magazine.
4-Enjoying being a grandma and kids with no problems!
5-Enjoying good health and traveling to fun places.

My to do list for the day was:

1-Went to help a lady who needed medical help early in
the morning.
2-Took a nice nap.
3-Sold our old computer desk to a nice kid who needed one.
(Thanks honey for hauling it for him to his place)
4-Potted and watered some flowers for Mother's Day presents.
5-Household chores and rearranging my art room now that I
have more room with the desk gone!

My favorite snacks:

1-All things sweet!
2-Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate
3-But, I am cutting back, it will be nice at the
lake before we know it and I want to get into
my swimsuit!

What would I do if I was a billionaire?

I know money doesn't make you happy and can cause more
problems in the long run if you have no self control.
But....I would pay off the mortgage and my kids' mortgages.
I wouldn't donate to charities (except for disasters)
because I think other people misspend the money too much.
I would donate to our church perpetual education loan
program (students in poor countries are loaned money
interest free for an education and pay it back over time
when they have a job. I would set up my own perpetual loan
program, (people get too lazy when they get something for
nothing); start a lot of new businesses to employ people,
open about 20 watercolor galleries throughout the country
and invite other watercolorists to show their "best" paintings.
I'd buy some awesome paintings for the house.
And last, but not least, I'd have a large house in a warm and
sunny location! (Add in a sweet ride too.) Oh! and the hubby
could buy as many guitars as his heart desires.

These artists are tagged for the challenge to
answer the same questions:

Jane Minter

Jeanette Jobson

Katherine Cartwright

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blog Cartoon

Saw this and had to post it. Tried to describe
blogging to my Mom who is now 81 yrs old and it
was hard for her to comprehend. Today's kids are
almost born with computer skills, amazes me how
fast they learn the computer. Yesterday I sent
my grandkids a link of a web cam of a bald eagle's
nest to watch the development of the eggs and
growth of the eagle chicks. One had already
hatched and the grandkids were squealing about the new
baby chick they could see and later of one of the
parents ripping apart a fish and feeding it to the
chick. So cool for the kids! Amazing technology
that we have today, if only it was used for good
all the time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Addictions -- Hillarious Sony Vaio Commercial

Many of my fellow art bloggers have gone over to
facebook to network and meet new artists, which
may have evolved into an addiction with how many
friends some "facers" can acquire. Must admit it was an
addiction at first, but have learned ya can't
get much done if ya have to see what's new with everyone
all the time. I know the artists on facebook are talkative
and fun with an occassional polictical issue thrown
in to fan some flames. Promised myself to never twitter!
The electricity went off today (yes I paid the bill)
and couldn't paint without the lights, too cold out-
side, so worked on matting and framing some paintings,
which is the reason I paint--NOT!!!
Is facebook an addiction for you?
What's your addiction? (Keep it clean)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Last Thaw


watercolor 12 x 14.5

It snowed last week and decided to paint
a winter scene. Hope we don't see snow for a
long time. Spring is now here and trees just
starting to shoot out leaves. Spring is my
favorite season and I have all summer to
look forward to.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Warped View

watercolor 14 1/2 x 18"

Usually don't like painting buildings, but this
reflection in a paned glass building downtown was
intriguing. It had a lot of symbolism to it for me,
the warped view of a building that looked like a
bank, the warped telephone pole and wires. Do we have
a warped view of the world or are we given a warped
view of the world?
Could have gotten a better photo from the upstairs
window of the Macy's store, but it had closed down
due to the economy. The next day they tore down the
glass paned building since it was old and not being used.
Had to combine a few of the photos for this painting.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Useful Tools

Some useful tools that I use once in a while. The kistka
wax writing tool on the left is what I use to mask out fine
lines, hair or whiskers on a face. This tool can be found at
Michaels craft stores at Easter time. The masking fluid
has to be diluted with water to thin it. Watercolor paint
can also be used in this for a fine line. The kistka comes
in fine, medium or heavy openings.

The middle microbrushes are great for lifting a splatter
drop in the wrong spot or applying masking in tight areas.
A few portraits were saved by lifting with this brush.

The last is a gum brush that can be found in the dental
aisle of a drugstore which is great for lifting or softening
a color that has dried without ripping the paper. The bristles
are soft and can get in tight areas.

This painting is of a Roland Roycraft study I did 15 yrs
ago trying out his technique. The small blades of grass
in the lower right corner were masked out using a kistka
writing tool. It's too hard to achieve this small of a
line with a brush. The other masking was done with a
brush which was too large for some of the reflections
in the water.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Subjects We Paint

This is a drawing by pastel landscape painter
Richard McKinley who discusses the need to
paint or draw all three of the subjects for practice:
still life, landscape and portraits to keep our artistic
skills at their best. Here is part of his
"In becoming a well-trained painter, each of these
subject areas—still life, portrait, and landscape—
provides a lesson and should not be overlooked due
to a lack of motivation. You may not be attracted to
the still life, uninterested in the portrait, or feel
dispassionate about the landscape, but by practicing
them you will polish technical skills that make you
a more confident painter. A painting is a configuration
of accurate shapes, a representation of lights
influences, and a sensitive arrangement of colors.
These exist in every representational painting, and
for that matter every abstract painting. Individual
subject matter is all composed of them. In that regard,
everything we paint is all the same. Each subject does
provide a heightened lesson, though. The still life
teaches the importance of value. Within the confines
of a relatively small distance, the influence of light
and the manipulation of edge create form. The portrait
teaches accurate drawing. The human likeness allows for
no error. The landscape teaches color harmony. Natural
light and its influence across nature’s palette help us
to understand the relationship all colors have to one
another. A wise instructor passed this thought on to
me many years ago: “To learn value relationships, it’s
the still life; to draw, it’s the portrait; and to become
sensitive to color, it’s the landscape. Each has something
to offer. Practice them often and then paint your passions!”

[pictured above] A portrait drawing demonstration of mine;
just to prove that I still do my homework.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunshine Award

This award is given to bloggers for sharing their
creativity and positive attitude. It was given to
me by Srishti Art and Jane Minter.Vist both blogs
to see their work.

My list of bloggers I want to spotlight are ones who are old
favorites, new ones just discovered or those just getting started:

Robert Burridge mixed media, a great teacher.

Liz Hill mixed media in figures

Thomas W Schaller award winning watercolorist.

Lisa Walsh self taught artist who is in a mid-life crisis
with a sassy attitude!

Crystal Cook a stay at home mom
who specializes in children's portraits who just started a blog.
Check out her blog!

David Boyd self taught artist who has a nice style.

Matthew Innis what's new in the art scene in general
with some of Matthew's art.

Cheryl Devoto a talented new blogger.

Julie Hill Discovered she has a talent for art, self taught.

Donna Watson workshop instructor specializing in collage
and mixed media

Jose Luis Corella Is it a photograph or painting?

Alicia Sotherland pastel artist specializing in portraits

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fluid Acrylic fun

Experimenting with my fluid acrylics on some
scraps of watercolor paper. Achieved some batik

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to family
and friends!

Portrait challenge of Karin Jurick

I was asked if I wanted to participate in the
"Thank You" project to Karen Jurick who does the
Different Strokes from Different Folks to thank
her for all the work she put in to make this
blog work. 118 artists worked from the same
reference photo of Karen Jurick which are now
printed in a book and mailed off to Karen.
Jill Polsby organized the project and
worked on getting all the paintings put
together. All 118 paintings are on Jill's blog.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Little Skeptical


Photographed this man a few years ago
and finally got around to doing a painting
of him. You don't have to paint what's
there in a photo, as you can see from the
photo of him below that I changed the smile
and drew in a different expression. Glad
that it worked out well.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Joanne Thompson

Decided I better give some recognition to
the other side of the family for their art
talent. My aunt, Joanne Thompson, (1923-2002)
was asked to feature her art work in one of the
Walter T. Foster drawing booklet in the 1960's.
She loved to draw family members in charcoal
and painted many portraits in oil. These are
some examples of the drawings in the booklet.
In my younger years I tried to draw some of
her drawings free hand with little success.
Always shyed away from portraits, but now
love to paint portraits and figures.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sophie Mitchell's paintings

A few examples of my Grt. Grandmother's paintings,
as from the post below. These were painted between
1882-1883 in Napa Valley, Ca. These are from the
note cards and much larger paintings are in pocession
of various relatives.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's a Small World

I came across some old note cards with paintings of
my Grt. Grandmother, Sohpie Alstrom Mitchell's watercolor
floral paintings while straightening up a room and decide
to see if they were still available through the Napa Valley Museum.
Googled her name and found her on Allan Stellar's blog that writes
about his hikes everyday. He took a picture of the old house and
discovered that a plaque was placed on the property. His article
dated Dec 26, 2009:

"I drove down to the Napa Valley yesterday. Worked today.
After work, I headed down to St. Helena in order to walk
the White Sulphur Springs road. I was looking for an uphill
walk. I was delighted to discover that this walk, that I
had remembered to be uphill, was actually quite easy for
me to negotiate. Even with my backpack on (loaded with
thirty pounds of books), this road was not as much uphill
as I remembered. Good news.

Of course, this is the walk that passes through the grounds
of what some call a "white collar cult". White Sulphur Springs
is amongst one of the oldest resorts in California. In it's
heyday, beginning in 1852, 1,000 wealthy San Franciscans would
stay at the resort. Now it is home to what EST has evolved into:
"The Hoffman Process". Six thousand bucks for a five day seminar
promises to heal all your suburban angst.

Sophie Alstrom Mitchell lived at this resort in a simple house
from 1862-1882. She was a watercolor artist regionally known
for her paintings of local flowers. An interesting lady, when
her first husband died in 1882, she took up with a local
Presbyterian Minister--seventeen years her junior. Sophie's
artwork is on permanent display at the Napa County Museum."

Sophie painted in what we think is gouache, selling some of
her florals to a buyer in New York. Some of her collection
of paintings were found in an attic in New York and sent
back to California and placed in the Napa Valley Museum
and note cards made of the paintings.

She took botany at college and also had a talent for art.
Her husband would drive his horse and buggy throughout the
Napa valley and pick wildflowers on the way home for Sophie to
paint. Some paintings are of flowers that are now extinct,
which have a very exotic look.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Experimenting with fluid acrylics

fluid acrylics 17" x 25"

Been working on this painting of leaves
and pine needles on a pond for sometime
and finally am close to finishing it.
The leaves seem to appear to "float"
a little in the air and will see if I
can remedy that. Been experimenting
with the fluid acrylics, trying to get
accustomed to the colors and how they
react in a pour without making mud in
the various layers.