Monday, January 30, 2017


Day 30 - 30 Day Challenge.  I MADE IT!  I can't say I'm sad to see it end.  It was definitely challenging at times to come up with another idea, but I learned a lot and I think defined more clearly what my paintings are about.  I really wanted this last one to be a simple landscape with the freedom to go a little crazy with color.  It began as a watercolor on paper and evolved into an acrylic on paper with just a touch of collage.  Thank you everyone who followed along on this journey and especially those who purchased paintings.  See you again next year?

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Day 29 - 30 Day Challenge.   This challenge is proof positive that "time flies." The month of January, which usually drags a little,  has just jetted by.  Every day has been a challenge (some more than others). Someone said to me that coming up with a new idea every day would be the most difficult part…and they were right.  I began with a theme in mind, but it didn't take long to be done with that so I've explored several different subjects.  Of course, florals have always been my default, so today I painted an exuberant bouquet for you all to enjoy.  It's all transparent watercolor. What I love is that you can achieve such brilliant color from a traditionally pale and watery medium.  You just have to "dig deep" in those wells of color.  Sometimes it's really good to dig deep.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Day 28 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. I love the weekends at our house! I am the chief cook during the week, but on the weekends the REAL chef in our house cooks.  My husband is a foodie and  is the creative genius in the kitchen. There is nothing more beautiful than a pile of peppers so in honor of his skills, I pulled this painting from the pile of unfinished works and finished it today. It had never progressed beyond the initial washes so I had fun building contour and depth with additional washes, building value as I went. 

This is about as realistic as I get with my painting and I just may do a series of beautiful food in the future.  Fun!

Friday, January 27, 2017


Day 27 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  If you'd like to see all the paintings in this challenge, check out   There are artists from all over the globe participating in this challenge. Kind of amazing really.

I have to admit this painting was uphill all the way for me today. It began as a watercolor on gessoed paper.  Then I added texture with an acrylic product called GAC 200, dropping it into wet paint to create the oozes that became rocks beside the waterfall.  When that dried, I began glazing with FW acrylic inks in various colors and painted the sky negatively with a mixture of white acrylic and the inks.  Despite its challenges, it was a fun project and I guess it revealed how anxious I am to hear the rough and tumble of spring runoff from those roadside waterfalls in northern Minnesota. As beautiful as a Minnesota winter is, I look forward to the return of color to the landscape.

Again, thank you for visiting and if you're interested in any of my paintings from this series, they will be $85 until February 1st and usual price after that.  The majority of them are 8"x10".

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Day 26 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  Only 4 days left!  It's a little bittersweet for me. I love a good deadline so it's been very motivating.  However, I've discovered some things that I want to explore on a larger scale.  

This technique I've used the last 2 days is one of those things. I painted my Arches watercolor paper with white gesso in a very loose manner before adding any color. I actually apply the gesso with a palette knife to get some interesting textures and let it dry.  Then I paint watercolor washes which usually turn out to be too light.  I let them dry then add FW acrylic ink glazes to brighten and add the deeper values.  The fun part is that when you splash water into the still damp color and lift gently with a tissue, you get the most amazing random return to the white of the paper. What a great way to create splashes and rock texture!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Day 25 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  This title might just give my age away.  Do you remember the song from the 70's? I took the liberty of paraphrasing it this morning.  I had a blast painting this one. I underpainted with textured gesso.  After that dried, I floated the apricots, pinks, aquas and browns to create a very rough and loose surface. While it was damp, I dropped some alcohol into it to create the 'oozles'.  Lastly, I added opaque gouache in the negative spaces behind the trees and attached my collaged horizon line from paper I'd cropped off the original.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Day 24 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  Today was the first time I really had to punt in this challenge.  I taught a more complicated subject involving perspective drawing (not my very favorite thing) in my ongoing studio class today and needed to spend the afternoon with Mom.  Both those things took precedence over the Challenge today so I dug out an older painting that I'd begun using my Gelli printer, some scribble writing and a few scraps of pretty papers. I really do love doing these little collages and they're so handsome framed up or adhered to a canvas.  

Monday, January 23, 2017


Day 23 of 30 Paintings/30 Days Challenge.  I REALLY wanted to paint something in bright colors to offset the dreary day outside my window today, but then I fell in love with all the variations in the beautiful grays.  Thanks to Jeanne Dobie's book, Making Color Sing, I tried several "recipes" for grays to create green/grays, gold/grays, blue/grays, and even pink/grays.  I guess that's just another way to make lemonade out of lemons, isn't it?

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Day 22 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  Our family loves a good bonfire.  Don't you just love  grabbing a bag of marshmallows, a few hot dogs and spending a few hours laughing and chit chatting around the fire with your favorite people?

This semi-abstract painting began as a watercolor, wet into wet to create the soft 'smoky' atmosphere, then when the paper dried, I started painting those hard edged shapes to define the fire and the figures. There's a little collage and I used my white pen for the marshmallows.  This painting is 8"x10" and the price is $85 plus shipping.


Saturday, January 21, 2017


Day 21 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.   "…..His banner over us is love" is from Song of Solomon 2:4.  When I imagined this painting, I visualized the figures RADIATING love.  It seems our assignment now more than ever is to radiate love wherever we can. 

PROCESS: The painting began with wet in wet watercolor washes.  Avoiding the center area where the figures were to be, I allowed just a little of the warm yellow ochre and quinacridone coral to flow into the figures.  I wanted the background to be cold and dark in contrast so I added the blues, purples and greens.  After that all dried, I began to design the negative spaces, describing the shapes of the main figures as well as the shadow figures in the background.  Collage was next with the radiating circular shapes and the banner.  A few iridescent colors sprinkled around and done.

If there is anything I've learned from this challenge, it's that it is a wonderful way to identify what "style" is most comfortable and authentic.  After experimenting with  several techniques and styles,  I've discovered the one that brings the most adrenalin and joy to me is this semi abstract way of working.  It feels the most authentic and goes beyond the constraints of reporting "just the facts" of a subject.  I hope it will speak to others too.

Friday, January 20, 2017


Day 20 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  I LOVE painting abstractly! This painting evolved from a few loose washes of color. After I used the 'fence looking' stamp, the meaning became clear to me. It looked like a gated community and it stirred a lot of thoughts of what that actually means to me.  Being kind of an introvert (and VERY PASSIONATE about my work), it's very easy for me to isolate myself in the studio and forget the importance and JOY of touching friends and family,,,,so this is a personal cautionary tale.  It also reminded me in this political climate how easy it is to build walls against those who see the world differently than we do and how we shortchange ourselves in the process.  
What began as a watercolor went through several stages.  From watercolor to collage to iridescent and metallic colors to fluid acrylic glazes to brighten up the design.  Love this way of working….a BIG THANK YOU to Karen Knutson for her inspiring lessons on abstraction which started me on this path.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Day 19 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  A few days of painting abstractly makes me a happy artist.  I begin these paintings with watercolor washes that set both the design tone for the painting as well as the color plan.  Then I start collaging my Gelli print papers and other bits and bobs to reinforce the design.  I've been experimenting with a product called 'paper clay' to add some texture and dimension and to help define the center of interest area.  Since it's a paper product, you can watercolor paint on it when it's dry or stamp into it while it's wet.  Of course they must be framed differently than traditional watercolor because of their depth.  A shadow box frame works best. So much fun!  Give it a try.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Day 18 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  They say you don't really appreciate the good things in life until you've experienced some dark days. Nobody knows that more than a Minnesotan.  These lovely sunlit days in January bring such joy and deep appreciation, especially after many days of living in the deep freeze.

I painted this one as a demo in my ongoing weekly class today and began wet in wet to create the halo of light in the background.  It's funny about snow scenes. Although you'd think there is a lot of white paper left exposed, the best way to really focus the light is to create some mid value to dark cool shadows surrounding the light areas.  A few very dark 'pine needle' strokes, a smidgen of complementary cobalt violet and there you have it…a winter walk.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Day 17 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge:  It's true. I'm suffering from a fever.  Spring fever. These next few days the weather man is promising above normal temperatures and it has me thinking Spring. I spent a few minutes this morning perusing the seed catalogues and that only made my temperature rise.  

This watercolor was painted more wet on dry paper, one bloom at a time.  You can see at the top where I began painting the dark background into the still wet flowers to create a soft edge, eliminating that cut out and pasted on look that can happen when you have a flat black background like this one. 

If you see something you love, just a reminder that all my 'Challenge paintings' are for sale and most are 8"x10." The price is $85 plus shipping.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Day 16 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  I have a busy day today, so I just did a quick 3 color wash and "found" a couple of rainy day friends.  A little scrubbing of rain and Voila! Though it's just a study, I think I'll pursue the idea later on a bigger piece of paper. We're on the downhill coast now.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Day 15 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.
Have you ever had the experience of slowly coming upon a waterfall, first as a distant whisper then getting louder and louder the closer you get?  It's an awe inspiring experience to finally come face to face with the waterfall in all its power and beauty.

I used an earthy triad again in this painting - Cerulean Blue, Yellow Ochre and Quinacridone Bt. Scarlet (with a little Quinacridone Coral for the energy lines).  It was important for me to capture that feeling of energy you see in a scene like this. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Day 14 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

This painting was inspired by one of my favorite spots on the North Shore, the mouth of the Kadunce River.  I've spent many hours there, pocketing a couple heart shaped rocks for my garden and just enjoying the serene beauty of the place.  One of my favorite memories is hiking up the river with my brother, wondering what critter had made those GIGANTIC footprints on the trail and getting "just a little" bit lost. Fortunately his guiding skills saved the day or I'd probably still be wandering around in the woods! 

It's always a challenge for me to focus on painting grays and neutrals as I normally gravitate toward the brighter, warmer colors.  Jeanne Dobie's Making Watercolors Sing has a chapter on what she calls 'mouse colors.'  I learned to appreciate how many different formulas there are for painting grays and I recommend her book to all my new students. 

Friday, January 13, 2017


I know that some people think of the woods as a dark spooky place, but I've always found it to be a quiet, sheltered place.  There is nothing that calms those city nerves like a walk in the woods.  Just being out in God's creation sets your internal clock back to where it was meant to be.

I began this painting with wet in wet again, then built upon the atmospheric colors to paint some texture into the tree trunks and branches.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day 12 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

8" x 10"

On these crisp winter days, it's nice to remember the beautiful warm Minnesota days we've experienced in the past and will again. (eventually!)  One of my favorite spots in the world is the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota and this painting recreates a beautiful early morning trip up the trail to visit the newly completed Chik Wauk Museum. The stone house that is now the museum was home to a pioneering family on the Trail.  It eventually became a rustic resort for those hardy souls willing to find the beauty that compensated for the king sized mosquitoes, sometimes harsh weather and rustic living conditions.  I have such great admiration for those amazing people.  Let it be said that I loved visiting and learning about their life, but I was perfectly happy to return to my air conditioned house in the city.  Everything in life is a trade off I guess. Visit if you get a chance.  It's wonderful.

I wanted to continue my favorite style of painting in watercolor which is to begin wet into wet, then as the paper dries, continue creating edges to define the subject.  I find that with wet in wet, I'm able to paint the wonderful soft passages, then very judiciously use the sharper edges made on the drier paper to define the center of interest and direct the eye through the painting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Day 11 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge


As I'm sitting here enjoying the beauty of the snowflakes floating down for the third morning in a row,
it occurs to me that what's needed is a big bouquet of COLOR.  This technique has always been and always will be my favorite way to approach painting a watercolor.  It works well for landscapes, florals and just about anything you want to paint. I like to begin with a very basic drawing, then I wet both sides of the paper.  With very fresh moist pigment I begin laying in color, usually beginning with my lightest values and working toward the darker values.  It requires keeping a close eye on the drying time  in order to keep a little control over the edges of the shapes.  As the painting begins to dry, I can create more and more hard edges so I approach very slowly and (sometimes) patiently. 

I'm prepping to teach a 3 day watercolor workshop February 16 - 18th at the Duluth Art Institute, sponsored in part by the Lake Superior Watercolor Society.  We'll incorporate this technique in landscapes as well as in little moments in nature. Looking forward to a good time with those Lake Superior painters.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Day 9 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days
8" x 10"

It's a good idea to work outside your normal style from time to time.  Painting wet into wet with lots of soft edges and a wide spectrum of values is my preferred way of working so this whimsical style of prismatic painting with lots of edges is a stretch for me.  It's also a little "cuter" than my usual style, but I've learned a lot about design, balance and creating interesting shapes from these exercises. It's also a good way to try out new color palettes. 

Don't we all just love our painting girlfriends? It keeps us from becoming isolated hermit painters. As an instructor, I'm always amazed how we ALL make each other better artists.  (Don't forget to look for the feather in the painting.) Just a couple more of these girlfriend paintings, then on to some landscapes and even abstracts before the month is out.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

8" x 10"
Day 9 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Continuing with the Girlfriend Series…...It certainly is challenging painting in this prismatic style. It reminds me of stained glass or mosaic.  Years ago, I took a workshop from an artist who challenged us to draw arbitrary lines through our original drawing, then as we began laying down pigment, we were to change color or value every time we came up to one of those lines.  Using complementary colors, value and the brightness/dullness of the colors, we were to find ways to paint a balanced piece of art.  At the time, it seemed like a strange idea, but it's helped me think outside the box many times since and to find optional ways of solving the problem of balance in a painting.  Instead of just "reporting the facts" of a subject, it's always good to find a different way of looking at things to give your work an original twist.  

Though I don't belong to a book club at present, I understand from my daughter who has started several groups that it's a great girlfriend activity and as much about the snacks and wine as the book, though finding friends to discuss the deep thoughts found in a favorite book (or not so favorite book) is a wonderful bonding time.  So enjoy, all you bibliophiles!  And don't forget to look for the feather!   

Sunday, January 8, 2017

PAINTING PURCHASES:  If you're interested in purchasing any of the paintings from this 30 Day Challenge, you can either personal message me on Facebook or text me (651-245-8777).  Most of the paintings are either 8" x 8" square or 8" x 10".  The 8" x 10" paintings are $85 and the 8" x 8" paintings are $75.

8" x 10"

Day 8 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: A while ago, I began a series of girlfriend whimsical watercolors so I've decided to use this opportunity to expand on this idea and see where it takes me.  I know it's not "fine art" and yes, there will still be feathers hidden (or not so hidden) in every painting.  Hope you have fun looking for them!

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Day 7 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge - I decided to try a few whimsical figurative paintings , segueing from the feather series. I'll be hiding feathers in the next few paintings just for the fun of it.  Hope everyone has fun searching for them.

Friday, January 6, 2017


It was 11 degrees BELOW zero this morning!  Much as I love painting in my wonderful studio, it just seemed so right to paint here in front of the fireplace these last few cold days.  Actually, almost every room in our house has become a studio at one time or another but now that I'm following the discipline of painting and posting every day for 30 days, it's nice to have a warm cozy spot to paint quickly and simply. 

Here is my last painting from the FEATHER series and it was a very spontaneous watercolor with lots of fresh rich color in the background.  (Indanthrene Blue, Quinacridone Magenta and Cascade Green). It actually reminded me that each of us leaves the 'essence'  of ourselves behind, whatever nest we occupy.   

Here is Day 6 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge:

watercolor 8"x10"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Day 5 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge


The inspiration for this painting is from a poem I wrote a long time ago while sitting on the shore of Lake Superior.  I've since lost track of that poem but what impressed me that day was the fragility of the little gull feather lodged in the rocks.  The water swirled around it, the smooth rocks clattering against one another, but the feather stayed firmly sheltered in its spot.  It spoke to me of God's care for us. No matter how things swirl around us and try to push us into the deep, we're sheltered.  It's His promise!

My process for this watercolor included first painting the feather, then laying down fresh pigment on dry paper and laying saran wrap into it for the rock and water texture….an old trick, but very useful for this painting.  Add splashed water drops and some glazed negative shapes to describe the oval rock shapes found on Lake Superior and there you have it. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Day 4 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

I actually fished this one out of the trash this morning.  I had given up on it last evening, but woke up with a new idea to begin abstracting feather shapes and "carving" out those shapes with negative painting.  I've already begun to depart from my original plan to stick with pure transparent watercolor and added some white line with my Molotow pen.  I think it added a little whimsy to the painting.  I guess I've not exhausted this vein of feather paintings yet.  My quote for the day:

"Nature contains all the elements of color, form of all pictures
 as the keyboard contains the notes of all music.
But the artist
is born to pick and choose and group 
with science
these elements."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017



It appears I have a bit of a thing for feathers this new year.  These images might just evolve into birds, eggs, nests and who knows what else. 

Many years ago I began painting as a watercolorist, then evolved into a water media painter for love of the experiment.  I must confess that my truest love is the wet, loosey goosey flow of pigment into puddles and rivers of water.  Soooo… intent is to spend most of the 30 days revisiting the beauty of pure transparent watercolor and see where that takes me.  

I also love to collect inspirational quotes (who doesn't?) poems and scriptures, so I'm including one of them with each day's offering. I may not post here on the blog every day, but as often as possible. I will be posting every day on Facebook and on the 30 Paintings in 30 Days website. (

As an instructor, I find working in series one of the best ways to really tap into that often neglected well of each individual's creativity.  I've always found value in selecting a simple, well loved subject and playing with all its aspects and characteristics using color, line, shape, value and design to seek out all its possibilities and meanings.

He alone is great who turns the voice of the wind
into a song
made sweeter by his own loving.