Saturday, 26 December 2009

Happy Holidays!

Well, it has been awhile! Not a week after my last entry, I slipped on some frosty grass on a slope and there you go, my back went into spasm from which I am only now climbing out! But I have been able to work in my studio!

I have a winner for the Draw on Dec. 12: Glenn Lehman from West Australia. A dear friend and long-time supporter in my life. Well done, Glenn, and thank you!!!

As I said, I'm back in my studio - painting a Moroccan landscape or two - because that seems to be where my focus is these days. I KNOW its my next big project! NO that doesn't mean I'm moving from Glenfinnan, which everyone seems to want to know. It means that I'll spend some time traveling in the desert south of the Atlas with a Tuareg guide, painting pleinaire as I can, and sketching and taking as many photos as I am allowed. Then, returning home to Glenfinnan and painting my little heart out in preparation for an exhibition of these paintings as yet to be arranged.

Yep, I truly believe 2010 is going to turn the corner and be happy, creative, and successful! I truly hope yours is as well.....Happy New Year!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Coming Out of the Shadow

Well, I finally did it. I finally just picked up a brush, loaded it with paint, and put it to board. Not for long, mind you, but the point is that the block is broken. I'm doing a nice little landscape of upper Glen Finnan, the drainage coming down from the Allt Thuim. I began by looking at lots of images of the hills, sketching it onto the board, and then, unusually for me, put down an under painting of yellow ochre. Usually, with these hills, I use alizarin crimson. But this time the hills seemed more golden underneath the green. I really do see the color underneath, and believe me, I've usually begun with crimson. Then I began blocking in the shadows.

But, I had to stop. I decided that it was time to go out and enjoy the day, not worry about my horse, my cat, my budget, etc.; just go out and walk up Glen Dhually (I'm not sure of the spelling here), in search of the perfect Christmas tree. I found it! A lovely little white fir. To be cut closer to the day. But the views from up top, down the glen, across to a glimpse of Guibhaschain and Bein Odhar Beag, the colors of sunset rimming the clouds, mist climbing up the hills. A really wonderful day. And made even better by the fact that I'm back in the studio.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


My sale is now half over, and I've not yet put paint brush to canvas. Oil paintings have sold overseas, people are talking about possibilities of purchase, but here in my studio, I feel a stagnation. I always do when its been awhile since I've put oil on a canvas. There is a painting sketched in, ready to start on the easel, but I've not been able to even turn on the light in the studio.

What kind of things hinder inspiration? Why can some kinds of life challenges spur you on, and others, sometimes equally as dark or seemingly hopeless (offering fodder for the artistic temperment), just stop you dead in your tracks.

I walk around the highlands where I live, and see the beauty, see the passion that I've always seen in this landscape. I attend ceilidh's and concerts and am moved by the passion in the musicians. But it seems that the turmoil and fear that is in my heart (even as I try to ignore it), has this time stopped me dead in my tracks. What kinds of tools do we as artists have in our arsenal to get us through times such as these? For me, its mostly finally getting so sick of wandering in circles that I just turn on the music, pick up a brush, and start - on anything. Or I'll be so inspired (like I was in Morocco) that nothing short of picking up the loaded brush and starting an oil painting of whatever it was that moved me. But sometimes, it takes awhile to push aside the voices of fear, business, monetary worries, sales, so that I can feel what it is I see.

I hope that by the next time I have something to say, I'll have gotten to that point.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


I have decided to include all available work in my little sale. That is a nearly 50% discount (depending on exchange rate, etc.) on all available work. Paintings with galleries, in exhibitions, etc. are not included, and SHIPPING AND FRAMING are NOT INCLUDED as well at this price.

This is only until December 15, at that time all work will revert to retail price. As I said previously, "sometimes we have to reach out and ask for help in order to keep moving ahead, in order to pay old debts.....this time, I'm asking for help for both reasons! That's the thing about abing an artist; it's continually humbling. I have expenses left over from my last museum exhibition, and want to start working on my newest project - Morocco...."

Monday, 2 November 2009

Baby Steps

Today, I managed to finally take the first baby steps back to my easel. After putting so much into creating the little watercolor, I found it absolutely impossible to think about what's next until today - even with a painting sketched and ready to go on the easel! I got caught up in the voice that said, "you don't have enough, you're not gonna make it, etc., etc., moan, moan, moan..." Its so easy to do - especially right now when the economy is making us all feel fear and panic about our basic well-being!

I was talking to a friend today about the way my creativity works. That my whole life is represented in the ebb and flow of tides rather than a constant river of creativity. The trick is to relax into the moment and accept what phase I am in, trusting. Its the trusting I have trouble with when I'm in the ebb phase.....will I ever be able to paint again; I must be sooooo lazy, all I can do is wander or read or sit and think. The monkey inside my head tries to get me into the fearful, judgemental part. It only traps me if I let it!

How do I find the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if I don't have enough cash to pay my rent, buy groceries, much less paints? By finding one little thing, one little job that helps me think about painting, even if its not picking up a brush with color! Sometimes its very cutting up boards into squares that I can use. Sometimes its just rifling through photos, taking a walk, picking up my sketchbook and writing, THEN starting to draw.

Today though, it was physical. I had cut up boards while waiting for DHL last week. And today, I found just enough Gesso to ground them so that tomorrow, if possible, I can begin to work. This made today a good day. Small blessings. a little bit at a time, and soon I'm back in the flow.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


One of my favorite things is to do commissions for clients. Its a wonderful thing to try to bring their vision to life, and in your own way, and so that they love the finished painting! This time, I stretched myself, working in a medium I'd not touched in years.....and am so happy to say they love it! I was asked by to do this illustration for clients with a shop in St. Paul de Vence. I think, besides getting the watercolor under control again, that the biggest challenge was putting myself into the warmth and light of the Cote d'Azur, in the middle of a very wet, typical Glenfinnan autumn - complete with rapidly failing light! I put on movies about or taking place in Provence, looked at as many photos of the area as I could, and tortured myself by "living" in the Cote d'Azur when outside it was raining cats and dogs! Ah well....its a good thing I've a very vivid imagination!

Monday, 19 October 2009


I'm having a big sale of WALTZ ACROSS TEXAS paintings. From now til November 29, certain paintings from WALTZ ACROSS TEXAS are about 50% off. Check out my website, (WALTZ ACROSS TEXAS SALE) for details. Sometimes we have to reach out and ask for help in order to keep moving ahead, in order to pay old debts.....this time, I'm asking for help for both reasons! That's the thing about being an artist. Its continually humbling. I have expenses left over from my last museum exhibition, and want to start working on my newest project - Morocco!

While you're there, look at the new work, but this time, pay attention to Waltz Across Texas.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

At the moment, I'm practicing diligently at watercolor - something I've not used in a very long time, and certainly not for public consumption. But I've been asked by the No. 1 Ladies Website Agency to create a little illustration for a website, in watercolor, and have accepted the challenge. Watercolor is so different, and much less forgiving than oil paint! But I'm getting further and further into each illustration before I ruin it with mud, or a poorly placed splot of water, or using the wrong color for shadow - which I find difficult in this medium by the way! But I also look at this as somthing that may loosen up the oil painting too....

By the way, check out new work (oil paintings) displayed on my website ( and/or my Facebook page:

There are more than I've shown, but as many these past few months have been cathartic and not for public consumption....Not everything is for sale! Anybody else out there that uses their work to help process deep feelings or to keep them flowing, no matter how painful, just to keep painting? I find that if I try to ignore some feeling, to put it into a box and keep it closed up, then I can't work I must go thru life sometimes feeling like I'm bleeding from every pore.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


Last night, the hard side of being out there as an artist hit home. As I sat there at 2am then 3, then 4 before I finally went in search of something to ease what even meditation/contemplation couldn't shift - a cup of camomille tea and a small glass of wine - I decided that this too is part of the journey, and needed to be told. Sometimes it becomes so scary, this creative and financial knife's edge I walk on a daily basis, that I feel like I have to give up. But then I think about what then....this is who/what I am. I refuse to quit when it would trivialize every sacrifice I've made to get to this point! Fear not, we all hit this, and more often than we like to admit. And I always, always manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and picking up the brush loaded with paint again.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Other Artist's Pursuits

I'm pleased to share with you all the creation of a new business by my friend, Alice Barker. The is now open for business. I particularly am excited by the idea that Alice suggests, that a website is a reflection of our personality, as well as what information we want to get out to the rest of the world! Alice is an artist in her own right, with a very different medium to mine. Well done, Alice!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

conflicting urges

Today is one of those beautiful highland sky, brilliant autumn color starting to appear, and a soft breeze. Sometimes its impossible to achieve anything when its like this; when you need to pick up a brush - there is a live painting on the easel that just cries out to you to "finish me!" and needs the light of a day like today....but because its so achingly beautiful outside, you can't start anything, and spend time just moving between the studio and outdoors, achieving nothing. Some days are just like that.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Hello, I'm new to this, but there are so many things to say....just being an artist is a challenge, but today, we have to be able to talk about ourselves, what we're looking at, how we do what we do, (I paint), our "process". As if its not enough to just be able to create, or to need to create!