Monday, December 28, 2009

Moon Shadow

Moon Shadow

Ah, my favorite part of the holiday season is now - between Christmas and New Years Day. The twinkling lights are still up and there is a feeling of hushed contentment. It's time to reflect and make plans for the coming year.

As part of my nostalgic mood, I'm showing this pastel that I did about nine years ago. This has been a nostalgic Christmas. My brother took out some slides that my parents took of us when we were young children and we viewed them on Christmas Eve. It's a bittersweet time of year for most of us. We can't help but miss all of those who are now gone.

But it's also a time to be grateful and look ahead with faith and hope. I hope you all have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009


This is going to be a busy week. Last minute gifts to wrap, baking more cookies, it goes on and on. There is so much to do, yet so much to be grateful for. Years ago, I was more of a perfectionist around the holidays. I wanted everything to be just so, probably because we had young children and I wanted all their wishes to come true. What they ended up with was a mother who was stressed out at times.

Then I read a wise quote in a book. I don't remember which book or who the author was, but the advice stuck with me all these years. It was - the best gift you can give your loved ones for the holidays is a cheerful attitude. Now there's more time for the little things and more time for talking and laughter. I've also set aside some time for painting (makes me happy).

I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Solitary Path

Solitary Path
Oil on Canvas Panel

Today is painting day - promise! I put everything back in my studio. For the past two weeks, it's been Christmas cards, shopping, going to family get-togethers, tree trimming and house decorating. I forget what else. Oh yeah, and managing my eBay. I put some paintings up for 3 day auction for last minute shoppers. If anyone is interested, you might want to click here.

Ideas have been carefully percolating and now I'm itching to paint. Even if I just do underpaintings. Being away from my paints has been a withdrawal type of experience. So instead of just talking about it, I'm headed to the studio. Right now.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Looking for Inspiration

This fiery sky photo was taken last year when my husband and I attended an outdoor wedding in Galena, Illinois. The sky was truly inspiring that evening, as if it was giving a wink and nod to the bride and groom.

I'm in "inspiration gathering" mode myself. I know once I start to get inspired, it's as if the floodgates open and it comes in fast and furious. All I need to do is catch it. I'm also looking through some of my favorite books for inspiration. This is one of my very favorite quotes:

I open the door. The gorgeous guest
from afar sweeps in. In her hands are
her gifts - the gifts of hours and far-seeing
moments, the gift of mornings and evenings,
the gift of spring and summer, the gift
of autumn and winter. She must have searched
the heavens for boons so rare.

- Abbie Graham

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Confessions of an Empty Studio

I have a confession to make. It's been five days since Thanksgiving and I still haven't re-assembled my studio. On Thanksgiving Day this small room had two card tables and six chairs in it, complete with brocade tablecloths, china and candles. It was the "second dining area" for my guests, since our main dining area can only hold ten people around it. There were also four more guests in the living room sitting around our huge coffee table.

I plan to put it all back today, but I'm thinking......maybe I needed a break. Time to breathe in new inspiration. So in the meantime, I'll surf around and get inspired by everyone else's paintings and creative works. That's why I'm so thankful to have all my blogger friends!

Monday, November 23, 2009

November Twilight

November Twilight
Oil on Linen

We're hosting Thanksgiving this year. So I've been busy, busy cleaning, shopping and planning. I'm sure a lot of you are too! Our gathering keeps growing. This year will be a crowd of twenty. We're borrowing another Weber charcoal grill since my husband is making two turkeys instead of just one. He always grills outside and people love to gather around to be outside while waiting for the food to be done. The guys also have a tradition of toasting the turkey with B&B.

I need to take my studio apart to make room for two extra tables in our little sunroom. I'll put it right back after Thanksgiving.

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

T. C. Steele's Home and Studio

I thought I'd show you one of the places we visited last weekend on the outskirts of Brown County Indiana. We visited the home and studio of T. C. Steele (1847-1926). He was the founding member of the Brown County Art Colony and built his home there on 2,000 acres of abandoned farm land. He was an extremely prolific painter during his lifetime and when he died on 1926, his wife Selma lived there for another 17 years. When she died, she donated the entire property to the State of Indiana.
Here is just one of his many paintings. The guide made me turn off the flash, but there is just one example of his work. This was taken in the parlor or his home.
And here is his wonderful studio. He painted by natural light in those days, hence the huge windows. This was his dream studio and one can see why.

My brother and I took a workshop and painted on this property about four years ago. The views are amazing because of all the hills and valleys.
And this is a view of his home. If you ever get to Nashville, Indiana, make sure you go to this spot and take the guided tours. It was truly inspiring!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Oil on Linen

I'm dashing off this post today. I need to pack for a four day trip with my husband. We're going to Brown County, Indiana for a rustic, art-filled weekend. When we first met, we took a trip to this area with some friends. This is where I believe we fell in love.

I've been there since on a workshop with my brother. We went four years ago and painted our hearts out everyday from morning til night. Nashville, Indiana was an artist's mecca in the 1920's, 30's and 40's. Today one can go into the art galleries and guilds and view some of these great works of art from the region. If you're interested, you can check out some of these artists here.

Hope to take some great scenery shots!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sunset Glow and Being Car-less

Sunset Glow
Oil on Linen

I'm showing my latest small painting. It's one of three that I worked on in rotation for the past week. It's best to work on several at once since the drying of layers is essential before adding successive glazes and scumbles.

As many of you know, I set up an eBay shop. The primary reason I decided to do this is because my daughter is going to graduate school and has a boyfriend in the city. So MY car is gone the majority of the time. Sometimes I catch my husband calling it HER car. What? But it's okay really. It's only for about another nine months. (Ha) So in the meantime, I set up my little shop.

I actually sold a painting this past week on eBay. You can check it out here. It turns out that someone had seen this painting at my solo library show in September and went on my website and then went to eBay.

Okay, instead of hawking my wares on this blog, I'm thinking of setting up a separate sales blog. After all, this blog is calling Musings, right?

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Dark Side of Our Year

Tomorrow is All Hallow's Eve. At last the bewitching hour has come. And we also turn our clocks back one hour. It's the dark side of our year.

I always look forward this time of year. It's time to prepare for celebrations with family and friends. Early suppers in front of the fire with a glass of red wine. It's time for long, slow conversations and really looking into each other's eyes. November is our wedding anniversary month, my birthday and our son's birthday. Indeed it's a time to count our blessings.

And for the artist in me and you, here's a short quote I found in Simple Abundance by Sarah ban Breathnach - one of my very favorite authors. Sarah's chosen quote for October 31st is this:

To work magic is to weave the unseen forces into form; to soar beyond sight; to explore the uncharted realm of the hidden reality.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Indian Summer

Indian Summer
Oil on Linen

These past few days have been our Indian Summer in Chicago. It was short-lived, but oh-so-sweet while it lasted. Indian Summer is when there is one last span of warmer weather before real autumn begins. The sun was out. The air was balmy. And the colors of the landscape were glorious.

In that short window of time, my brother was able to sail his boat five hours away to where it gets hauled out of the water and put in dry dock for the winter. Last Sunday was Pumpkin Day at the Goodwin farm. That's when friends and family get together for a day of picking pumpkins and going on hay rides. It couldn't have been a more perfect day.

Indian Summer is a gift. The memories can keep us warm all through the winter.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm New to eBay

It seems so many bloggers are going through changes this year, in many ways, shapes and forms. I've been going through many changes of my own. Kind of like a whirlwind. That's what it feels like, anyway.

After much back and forth and soul searching, I've decided to take the plunge and open an eBay store. I want my work to go out into the world and I decided that it will reach the maximum amount of viewers. After all, buying art is a very personal thing. Each painting may or may not speak to a particular viewer depending on that person.

And I want my art to be truly affordable. It's not the right route for every artist, but I it just feels right for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009


The nocturne is the last lesson from the Magic Hours class. This simple scene is from the family farm. I've walked this way so many times at night. I felt the need to capture this peaceful place where so many happy memories have been made over the years.

With nocturnes, the hues are mainly cool with a few warm notes thrown in. And the values, especially in the trees, must be kept very close. Hopefully, this will the first of many nocturnes painted at the farm.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dawn Revisited

This is the last week of the Magic Hours class. I wanted to post Nocturnes, but I can't rush the drying process. Each layer of paint needs to fully dry before adding the next. So hopefully, I'll be posted those next week. I think painting nocturnes is the most difficult of the magic hours. The values need to be very close at night time.

Instead, I'm showing what I've continued to work on. Edges. All artists know how important edges are in painting. They make the difference between mediocre and good work. I posted this painting a few weeks ago here. The first time I posted, it was mostly the underpainting with some color. Now that I'm beginning to understand how to accomplish decent edges, I think there is quite a difference. At least there is to me.

The learning curve with edges has been a steep one!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I've become so involved in the technical aspects of my online class, that I need time to step back and observe.  Get out in nature - after all, nature is the best teacher.  Yesterday my daughter and I took a walk to town.  We do this quite often.  It's our little ritual.   Walking along with our hot to-go cups of tea, I observed some magnificent silhouettes of the trees at twilight.  The edges of the lit areas of the trees had a beautiful glow from the setting sun.  

If only I had my camera.  But, no, maybe not.  After all memory work is so important in painting.  

Some people have been asking what colors I use for glazing.  The transparent color in this painting is Brown Pink by Gamblin.  It's mixed with Liquin and can only be applied to the canvas when the underlayers are completely dry.  

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Moving along to sunset, here are a couple more studies.  Again, they're not completely finished as they need more glazes.  I'm attempting to do observation work to capture the time of day and the many colors it produces. And the best way to do that is to simply go outside and observe.  Also, color memory work is important.  I intend to keep a color journal and sketchbook in order to record what I observe as quickly as possible on a small scale.  This is a frontlit scene with the sun behind the viewer, the moon starting to rise in front.

This sidelit scene needs more glazes in the sky and ground.  Each layer of glaze really changes things so I'm trying to do it gradually.  But I do think the glazing stage is the fun part!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This unfinished piece is one of three I've done so far in Deborah Paris's online class.  The assignment was to portray dawn.  Using cooler colors is one of the hallmarks of any dawn painting.  

Taking a workshop or class always pushes my comfort level.  After trying to jam new facts into my brain, the best results are usually seen months later.  It takes me that long to assimilate what I've learned and feel comfortable with the process.  Has anyone else experienced this with workshops or classes?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Unexpected Artist's Date on Navy Pier

Yesterday I was planning to paint.  I had cleared my calendar and gotten chores out of the way for a blissful day of working in the studio.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans.  My daughter is running in the Chicago Half Marathon this Sunday.  One of the requirements is to pick up your shirt and running number at Navy Pier on the Friday before the Marathon.  She didn't feel like going by herself, so she talked me into going with her.

It was a beautiful fall day.  We had lunch on Navy Pier, picked up her things, and then I spied the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows near the end of the pier!  What an unexpected beautiful experience.  These images are some of windows produced by Tiffany.

If you ever get to Chicago, try to visit this exquisite jewel of a museum.  And the best part is that it's free!

Photography by Jessica M. Goodwin

Sunday, September 6, 2009


oil on linen

Here is my latest large painting done in Tonalist style.  It was completed about five weeks ago and since then I've put it in a black frame.  I think the black sets it off nicely.  

The thing I've noticed about paintings done in this style is that they seem to glow on the walls.  Unlike some of my Impressionist work, one notices the many layers of opaque paint, translucent paint and transparent passages.  I've fallen head over heels in love with this style.  Although the learning curve has been extremely steep for me, I think it's been worth the many months of study.  

Very soon my new on-line class starts with Deborah Paris.  It's called Magic Hours.  I'm so grateful to her for showing the way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Library Exhibit and Too Many Tomatoes

Whew!  My paintings are finally all framed and hung at the Glen Ellyn Library for the month of September.  As most artists know, getting one's work ready for a show is usually more work than actually painting.  I'm one of those artists who would rather be in the studio, happily creating, than anything else.  
I like how my husband hung my paintings.  He cleverly separated my Impressionist work from my Tonalist work.  I think he did a great job.
We had some extra space at the end, near the wall.  So I thought I'd bring in some of my older pastel work.  Of course, soft pastels need to be under glass, so all you see is glare in some of these.
Here's a sample of just a few of the tomatoes we have on hand right now.  There are many more bags in the downstairs refrigerator.  There's always a  HUGE influx of tomatoes at this time of year.  These are too small to make tomato sauce.  I was thinking of making batches of salsa and freezing them.  Does anyone have any more ideas on what to do with all these tomatoes?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back in my Pastel Days

Hidden Falls
Pastel on Paper

I thought it might be fun to show one of my pastel paintings from quite a few years back.  This was before I took up oil painting.  I used to love painting with soft pastels.  I loved the immediacy of the medium and the glowing, rich colors.  But at that time, my studio was a tiny little room in the back of our basement.  It had nice light with two windows.  I would sit and paint for hours and be very content.  The problem was the pastel dust.  I was literally inhaling it.  Then one day I decided to go in a completely different direction and taught myself how to work in oils.

People still say, ooooh I loved some of the pastels you painted.  Why don't you do it anymore?  Well, that was then and this is now.  And there's something about using brushes.  Guess I just found a new love.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Things I Learned from Lucy

Lucy was a wild puppy when we got her at 6 months old.  She lived with my brother and sister-in-law for a short while.  They had gotten her from the animal shelter.  We think originally she was a Christmas puppy, but whoever had her couldn't handle her.  Then my husband's brother gave her to us when they had an elderly relative living with them.  Again, too wild.

She was almost too wild for us.  One time she broke my foot when I had her on the leash walking through a forest area.  She didn't mean to.  She just wanted to run and my foot twisted.  For the next two years we constantly walked her and threw the frisbee.  We tried to wear her down a little.  No such luck.

Then one day, she started calming down.  Her true personality shined through and she completely wormed her way into everyone's hearts.  Here's what she taught me:

Be tolerant.  Even with the ungrateful cat.

Chase coyotes off the property.  We need to protect our loved ones.

Wag your tail when you see people you like.

And most of all, never pass up the opportunity to have a good time, like chasing the ball, swimming or playing frisbee.

We had to put Lucy down Monday evening. She let us know that it was time.  I'm sure that right now she's in heaven being a totally wild puppy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Facing West

Facing West
Oil on Linen

This painting is finally completed after lots of layers of glaze and opaque paint.  It requires many, many sessions of back and forth with the layers, examining the effects between drying times.  This is the painting I did from a photograph taken right outside my front door as the sun was going down.  That is to say - it was inspired by the photograph.  You can check it out here.

I'm gearing up for my solo exhibition at the Glen Ellyn Public Library for the month of September.  I have quite a bit of wall space to fill up and I wish I had more tonalist work done at this point.  But it looks like it's going to be half of my tonalist work and half of my impressionism work.  Hmmm.  I hope it doesn't look too strange!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Farm Field Sky

Farm Field Sky
Oil on Linen

The tree line in this painting is taken from a photograph I took at my brother-in-law's farm.  There is a field next to the farmhouse.  The crops are rotated there - one year corn, the next year soybeans.  In this painting, the crops have been harvested.  The farmers come in with huge combines and the job is done in a very short time.

I'm still working on those changes.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Oil on Canvas

While I've been enjoying reading about everyone's painting adventures this summer, I've turned to my studio and realize I need to reorganize.  So this is what I'll be doing in the coming weeks.  Not only am I reorganizing my studio, but I'll be reorganizing my blog and website.  I'll talk more about that later, as the changes actually happen.

For me, the start of the new year is autumn.  When I was a kid I loved getting ready for school and planning for all the new starts and a fresh slate.  New school supplies, clothes and shoes.  Seeing friends again in a new way.  And what better time is there to make plans and mull things over than in the lazy dog days of August.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bella Sinclair Award and My Latest Study

Oh, the lazy days of summer.  Lately I just feel like enjoying these days because before we know it, we'll be going into autumn.  Time for walks, sailing, festivals and endless barbeques.  Okay, back to reality - the above painting is one that I did as a study for further work.  I'm always trying for that glow!  

And I was very pleased and honored to receive the Bella Sinclair Award for "Friendship, Sisterhood, Sharing and Caring" from Laurel Daniel.

I've received some awards in the past and I must admit that I usually have mixed feelings.  Although I'm very grateful and flattered, I feel slightly uncomfortable naming only certain fellow bloggers.  Because most bloggers I meet on the internet are wonderful people in their own ways.  Therefore, I consider the wonderful ladies in my own Critique Group to be my sisters because they are exposed to my faults and weaknesses!  They are:  Loriann Signori, Karen Phipps,  Jala Pfaff, and Melinda Esparza.  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Evening Shore

Evening Shore
Oil on Linen

Just a small, simple painting today.  I'm feeling lazy from sailing on Lake Michigan yesterday.  It's like the words from the song "summertime and the living is easy".  

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Linen instead of Canvas

Ridge Path
Oil on Linen

This painting is the first I'm posting that is done on linen instead of canvas.  I couldn't believe what a difference it made to the glazing process.  It's more expensive than what I'm used to painting on which is acrylic primed smooth canvas.  

But the results were worth it to me and I've quickly become addicted.  So what am I going to do with the canvases already in my possession?  I might give them to my brother.  In the last few years we started hauling out canvases and paints whenever there is a get-together or family party.  People who haven't touched a paintbrush since they were kids are encouraged to add "something - anything" to the canvas.  Usually I start out by painting some sort of form, or my brother will, and pretty soon people get caught up in the fun. 

At the end of the party, we'll draw numbers and someone gets to keep the painting.  Everyone seems to love it!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sunrise, Again

Oil on Canvas

This painting is finally completed.  It's taken a very long time because I'm still learning about the tonalist process.  Another reason it's taken so long is because it's a much larger painting than my original study which was only 8x10.  To see the study, check here.

Of course, the more I keep on this path, the more I learn.  And the more confident I become with the process.  I need to work on some more large canvases, since I'll be the solo artist displaying at Glen Ellyn Public Library in September.  But for now, I'm taking a summer Fourth of July break out at my brother-in-law's farm.  Nothing but swimming, hiking and listening to the frogs.  Have a great Fourth, everyone!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Twilight Hour

View of Twilight Sky
Outside my Front Door

I have several paintings going at the moment, but none of them are complete.  They are being worked on in rotation because with the method I'm using, only a small amount of glazing and scumbling can be done per day.  So today, I'm showing some reference material I'm gathering.  The goal is to portray the twilight hour.  I used color imaging in iPhoto on my Mac to change the color of this sky from deep blue to yellow-orange.  It will be a jumping off point for future paintings.

When I come up with a composition that I like, I find the idea needs to simmer for a while.  I work it out in sketches, moving things around with pencil and eraser until I come up with something that works.  Rarely do I find a composition in nature that is perfectly composed.  I would love to hear about how you come up with compositions that work! 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Solstice

Peace by the River
Oil on Canvas

Tomorrow is Summer Solstice.  It's also Father's Day, so we all have two reasons to celebrate.  My husband is on his annual fishing trip up in International Falls, Minnesota.  Every year about twenty guys go up in a caravan of vehicles and fish to their hearts' content for one week.  They've been doing this for the last twenty-some years.  Our son is with them this year, so at least he'll celebrate Father's Day with one of his children.

There is a magic in the air at this time of year.  At the true beginning of summer the fireflies put on their nightly display.  The flowers smell especially sweet in the humid evening air and the moon has an enchanting halo around it.  There are so many gifts in nature.  It's hard to take it all in at once.  But I'll try.  Maybe I'll sleep on the back porch tonight.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lincoln Marsh River June

There are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

From reading my blogger friends' posts, I've noticed something in the air lately.  Blogger burnout.  Over the past few months,  people are saying that they can't find the words, don't have time to post, too busy.  Just too much on the plate at the moment.  Something has to give.

I've been there myself.  Which is why I intend to ruminate on the above quote this summer.  It's only in solitude that we hear our own authentic voice, whether it's daydreaming, journaling or quietly pursuing our interests and hobbies.  It's time to fill the well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Oil on Canvas

This painting is finally completed.  I've been working on this one for several weeks, on and off.  It is done in a tonalist style which requires an underpainting, and the numerous build-up of painting layers of opaque paint and transparent paint.  Each layer needs to dry completely before the next is applied so that each color shows through.  

This method of painting is new to me.  I've been completely immersed in this process this year and plan to continue in this style.  It's a process that seems to progress inch by inch.  But I'm more pleased with the results than my previous painting style.  I've learned to slow down and be more patient.  Like the changing of the seasons, some things just can't be rushed.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Being a Tourist in My Own City

View of Millenium Park from
the Modern Wing - Art Institute of Chicago

I read somewhere that artists should make an artist's date at least every two weeks.  The purpose of the artist's date is to get out of the studio and fuel the soul with new inspiration.  Now I can see why.  From now on, I'm going to mark my artist date on the calendar and make sure I keep it.  Yesterday I met my brother in downtown Chicago where he works .  He took a half day so that we could just have fun viewing the new Modern Wing at the Art Institute.  

I didn't take any shots inside the Art Institute because I was so drawn in by the amazing art, that I was quite overwhelmed.  It's been way too long.  Next time.

Before we knew it the whole day flew by.  Here are pictures of Millenium Park (where I have never been).  I only live 25 miles from Chicago, but rarely go to the tourist attractions.  It was so much FUN.  

We quickly walked into the Chicago Cultural Center and climbed up the stairs.  Here's the amazing stained glass that was just overhead.  
And of course, I stopped by the Hildt Gallery on State Street to see Deborah Paris's work for the first time, where it was not over a computer monitor.  It's so much more beautiful when you see the actual paintings.  They were overwhelmingly beautiful.  The gallery owner graciously took this amazing painting closer to the natural light for me to take a picture.
An artist's date fuels the fun, inspiration and imagination.  Now back to the studio.