Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Well, we had our first frost this morning.  I was surprised when I looked across the street and actually saw a white roof.  I even had to turn on the heat for the first time.  Maybe now that we've had our first frost, it can warm a little.

I've been so busy working on my new doll - the little ballerina - that I really haven't had time to think about blogging this week.  She's coming along quite nicely and I'm hoping to have her finished next week.  I have come up with some new ideas for her clothing, but, sorry, no more pictures till she's finished.  She likes her privacy.

A year ago in August I was looking for ideas for paintings, and decided to look a little closer at what nature provides.  I looked in my refrigerator and found these little mushrooms.  Never having looked really close at them before, I arranged three in different positions and snapped some pictures.  When you take time to look closely at God's beauty, you are able to see and enjoy so much more.  The whole idea seemed to lend itself to working with fabric, so I went back to what I had learned from Esterita Austen and did a wall hanging.  It measures about 19" x 28", not including the hangers.  I drew the mushrooms on a large piece of freezer paper.  Then, I cut out the large shapes and used the negative areas to find the right areas on my fabric to cut and fuse.  After they were all fused on, the painting began.  Increasing highlights and shadow areas increased the depth in the whole picture.  The background fabric was a black on which I streaked white paint so that I could show the lights and darks of the background.  I was happy with the result and hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Its a cool, dreary day today.  The sun is supposed to shine, but I'm wondering when.  The day reminds me of the first time I was at Estes Park with my sister Faye and her husband a year ago in May when I took a picture of the aspens in the snow before they had any leaves.  I was there again in August with friends.  It was raining, and I was able to get this picture of the leaves with the raindrops.   My sister has moved since then, so don't know when I'll be able to get back up there.  This hanging was given to her for a remembrance of the park, which they loved so much.

I was able to practice my computer skills on this one.  First, I used the same picture for the leaves and changed the colors to suggest the seasons of spring, summer, and fall.  Winter was shown on the "framing" with the snow around the trees.  I also used other pictures taken in August and adjusted the color slightly.  I then blurred those so they gave the effect of driving past the trees.  The background colors were too bright and tended to overpower the leaves, so I fused on a very thin fabric I had found stretched over a frame to diffuse the light during photographing.  When I tried to quilt this, the needle tore the fabric, so I wasn't able to quilt the piece.  I fused the whole piece on to a batting and stretched it around a frame.  Finding the right framing for the leaves took me a while.  Then, one day as I was walking out my front door, I noticed the dried stalks from my daylilies.  (I've always maintained that procrastination is a good thing.  If I had trimmed them down after they had bloomed, I would have never had the stalks.)  These were perfect.  After giving them a whitewashing with acrylic paints, they looked like twigs. 

The final piece was satisfying to me.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


These rainy days make me sluggish.  Excuses, excuses, right?  Anyway, I'm back on line  and it's still raining.  I have family coming tonight for steaks on the grill I have promised them, and it will be too cold to eat out on the patio.  Oh, well, we can't change the weather, so we might as well make the best of it.  I'm just thankful we have some moisture again.  It was beginning to get a little dry.

This doll is one that made up its own mind about what it wanted to be.  He is made of sculpey (a clay that bakes in a regular oven,) and is 22" tall.  I had snapped a picture at an art festival of a sad llittle girl with a butterfly on her face which covered both eyes, nose and mouth.  I was really taken by her mood and was trying to capture that in the sculpture.  The clay had a mind of its own, and the expression wasn't sad but comtemplative.

That winter I spent three days flying to Florida, two nights in terminals, so had plenty of time to read the book "The Agony and The Ecstasy" I had borrowed from a friend.  The descriptions of the clothing in that book were wonderful, and I could almost imagine strollling down the streets in Italy and being a part of the population.  While in Florida, my friend Corine took me to a fantastic fabric store where I found many wonderful silks and bought some with no idea what I would do with them. 

When I arrived home, all I had read and seen just came together and I knew this doll had to be a Renaissance man, but what to have him doing.  The idea of a troubador popped into my mind.  The fabrics I had purchased seemed to fit the costumes from that period.  The life of a troubador seemed like it must be quite lonely, so I needlefelted  his companion.  I was happy with the results, and hope you enjoy him as well.

Friday, September 18, 2009


What a beautiful Fall day!  Days like this really fill me with joy to be here on this day, at this time.  What a wonderful feeling!  It's going to be a busy one today.  I have to get to Curves sometime today, and then I will help my good friend Corine set up her show at Starbucks (4:00 to 8:00) in Watertown.  It's a really good show.  If  you can get there, it will be well worth your time.  She paints with watercolors and also makes dolls from porcelain.

I was going through my pictures and found these of a doll I made as a commission.  I was only told to make a "funky" doll.  I had to give her up the day after I finished her, so it was fun to see her again.  What a gal!  She is so full of JOY.  She is made from paper clay, is about 8" tall, and is really having fun on those roller blades.  I tried something new by using napkins I had saved to make her clothing, and acrylic paints for added color.  She was fun to do, and she really made herself.  I usually start with the face, and the face then tells me what she wants to be.  I think she must be happy with how I finished her, as she does have that look of Pure Joy on her face.  Fun!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It's been a very busy week, and I feel almost guilty about not blogging. My original intention was to add something every day, but original intentions don't always happen. Anyway, I haven't had time to do any work this week, so thought I would post pictures of a doll I completed about two years ago.

She is made from paperclay (an air drying clay) and measures about 12" tall seated. I saw her on an old calendar I purchased at a thrift store and was moved by her expression and pose. The original painting is "The Annunciation" by Giovanni Odazzi (1663-1731) and is an oil on canvas. She was a challenge, as I had never made a doll in a seated position. Her body is cloth on a wire armature, and she is seated on a chair made of paperclay. The base is made of styrofoam covered with paperclay and made to look like it is made of stone slabs.

I hope you enjoy her, as I do. She has such a calming effect on me.

Friday, September 11, 2009


What a rainy, drippy day this is so far. I have a busy one planned. The annual Watertown Art Festival is in town this weekend, and an artist friend from Minnesota will be staying with me. What a treat. We always have such great conversations. On Saturday I go to a "paint in" in Arlington. These painters are so much fun to be with, and last month I felt I really accomplished something - the "loverly bunch of coconuts." I'll be starting a new painting this time - one taken from an old photo in my Dad's collection. There was a Halloween party at his school when he was a boy. The kids in the front with their dog were so cute, I just have to see what I can do with them. Then Sunday night one of my sister-in-laws will be spending the night, as she has a meeting here in town. What a wonderful weekend. Family and friends are what have gotten me through these last five years, and I am so thankful for them.

The red onions were started in Florida last winter in a workshop. It measures 16 x 20 and is painted with acrylics. It changed considerably from the one day workshop. The onions were in front of me that day, but they were yellow onions. I don't know where the purple and turquoise came from. I like serendipity in my work, and it really showed up this time. I would have never thought of putting those two colors together, but they go well in my kitchen. I like to get close up and personal with my paintings, so you will probably notice that theme running through my work, whether it is a portrait, landscape, or still life. I feel it gives me more of an emotional feeling when I am painting, and hope it does the same for those seeing it. You will probably be seeing more food paintings as well, as it is fun to do.

Hope you all have a great weekend, and remember those who died and lost loved ones on this date 8 years ago.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


It looks like we'll have another beautiful day here. What a treat! It makes me want to get out and do something fun! But, I'll probably just stay in and work on my new doll. I missed working yesterday, as I had to be out of town. I do have a good start on the body and legs, so hopefully will get a lot done today!

Today I am posting a wall hanging I finished two years ago. It was the first large hanging I had done, and really didn't know what I was doing. It measures 33 x 41, which was difficult to quilt on my small machine. I don't think I'll do any more that large.

I took a class from Esterita Austen at the International Quilt Festival in Houston three years ago. She fuses fabric pieces on the background and then paints with fabric paints to intensify the lights and darks, etc. That little piece of an apple and pear was my first quilt ever. This was my second. I learned a lot - especially about getting the quilt squared off. It ended up smaller than it was originally.

I had an old photo of my husband when he was a little boy growing up in Kennebec, SD, in the 1940's. I always liked this particular picture and wanted to do something with it. Well, this process fit it perfectly. I first picked out fabrics that would fit the colors and then drew out the picture on freezer paper and cut out the shapes, using the negatives to lay on the fabrics to chose the right shading, colors, etc. After all were cut out and fused on, I painted with fabric paints to accentuate the lights and darks. Little things popped into my mind, like making a 3-D frog to put in his pocket, a wire handle on the tub, buttons on the suspenders, and a string from the "fishing pole." I was quite pleased with the final hanging, and do have plans to do more of different subjects.

Well, I'd better get at that little girl (or boy) so I can see what it will be.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


"Old Friends" is my latest completed painting. It is 24 x 30 and painted with oil. When I was painting this one, I finally felt I had gotten back into the groove of oil painting. Everything just seemed to work - the colors, brushstrokes, composition, everything. I am so excited about doing more.

The painting is of an antique glider horse and teddy bear I have sitting in my living room. They've been together over ten years now, and they seem to like it. I had always wanted an antique wooden horse, and we found this one at an auction in Waterloo, IA. The bear was purchased at an auction in Pukwana, SD. What a surprise to find him there. A funny story: Not knowing a whole lot about antique bears, and having heard about the rod bear made by Steiff, we had it xrayed at the vets to see if there was a rod through the body. There wasn't, but there was a needle left in it. I'm not sure where the bear was made, but feel it was made in Germany and is approximately 80 to 90 years old.

Enjoy the painting, and there will be more to come.

Oh, yes, I have the armature made for the next doll. I'll have a picture posted sometime this week. I have a long way to go on her (or him.)

Monday, September 7, 2009


Good morning. Hope you are all having a labor free Labor Day. When I was a child I couldn't figure that one out. Why take the day off on Labor Day? When I had my first real job, I figured it out quite easily. It's another beautiful day here today. The whole weekend was perfect!

Today I'm posting the last doll I made. One of my sisters was telling me the story of how our sister-in-law had shot a skunk in her yard. Our brother calls her "Granny" after Granny Clampett of TV fame, because she had been known to do this before. Anyway, as she was telling me the story, I was seeing her as a doll. This doll is not meant to be a portrait, only a retelling of the story in doll form. She is made from wool roving with a special needle with barbs (needle felting,) and is about 7" tall. As she developed, new ideas came, and she told me just how she wanted to be dressed, and how she wanted to be presented. By the way, the brown thing on her nose is a clothes pin. I was really happy with her, and I think Cleo was, too. Excuse the fuzziness on the photo. I don't have her here to take a better one.

This weekend I was inspired to start a new doll from a new sculpting medium I found. It's called "LaDoll" and is an air hardening clay. It reacts much like the paperclay I have used in the past, but doesn't seem to dry as fast, leaving more working time and a smoother finish. At this time the doll is telling me she wants to be a 6 year old ballet dancer. As I work on her, she could change her mind, and could actually turn out to be a boy. I'll add new pictures of her as time goes by, to have a record of how these dolls can change their minds. It's interesting and exciting! She should end up being about 20 to 24 inches tall. At this point I'm very happy with her. The head is the fun part; after that, with the body and clothing it gets to be work.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Joy II

What a beautiful morning. The sun is shining again and not much wind. Last night I had a group of ladies from my doll club here and I ate too much of Corrine's great peach pie with ice cream and a peach ginger sauce I put together. When I get the recipe perfected, I'll share it with you, if anyone is interested.

Since it is such a beautiful day, I thought it would be appropriate to show one of my recent paintings, "Joy II". I started this painting in Florida last winter from a photo I took of a little girl coming out of the ocean on the East side of the state. It is the same photo I worked from for the bronze. She was showing so much joy as she was running and spinning up the beach with her twin sister, I just had to try to capture the feeling. The painting measures 22" x 28" and is painted with water mixable oils and acrylics.

This is the first painting I tried to do with the water oils, and wasn't really thrilled with them. Unless you mix a special medium with them, they are stiff. When you mix the medium with them, they take as long or longer to dry than oils. In order to finish the painting in time for a show, I dried the oils in a warm oven and finished with acrylics.

Also, I felt the brushes were harder to clean than when using regular oils. I will do more with these paints, probably en plaine aire, as they would work well for painting outdoors, and I have made the investment in them so should try to work with them a little longer before I make a final decision. But, in the meantime, I have gone back to my oils, which I really love.

It's been so many years since I worked seriously with oils, and I finally feel like I am really getting back to it. I am so grateful to God for this gift and feel Him guiding my hand in my paintings - especially in the last one, which I'll try to post tomorrow. I felt as though the brush strokes were not mine. What a wonderful feeling - JOY!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It's such a gloomy day today, so thought I'd post one of my bright new paintings. This one is painted in acrylics painted from a photo I took on Sanibel Island, FL and is 16 x 20. It was such a bright sunny day and I was showing my cousin Sharon from Arizona the beauties of Florida. The light was just right as I focused on the green coconuts up high in the palm tree.

What a treat it was to spend the winter in Florida last winter, and I'm sure I'll produce more paintings from that time period. The colors are all so bright and the temperatures warm. It was great!

I started the painting at a paint in at Corrine's house, redid it at another paint in I was invited to in Arlington, and finished it in my studio. I started with shades of blue to establish my lights and darks, and then went on to add colors. I like painting with bright colors. probably because I am enjoying my life so much right now and it comes out in my work.

If you have any questions about this painting or any others, please email me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Hi, and welcome to my blog.

I am an artist living and working in South Dakota. My earliest memory of being able to do art was drawing the picture from a magazine advertisement "Draw Me" where you could win a scholarship to art school. Well, I was only a very young girl, so my parents wouldn't let me go. Funny thing. Anyway, I always had an interest in art and would study the prints on the walls at home trying to figure out how they did that. My first painting, other than paint by number, was a try from left over paints from the pbn kits. Very discouraging. In high school I was asked to do sketches of people for our school newspaper, and found I really enjoyed studying and drawing faces.

Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, was my choice of colleges. After four years of studying I taught art in George, Iowa, grades 1 - 12. I found teaching very enjoyable, but after three years moved on to other things and places. Office work for the State of South Dakota in Pierre, owner of three Taco John's restaurants, collecting antiques, etc., kept me busy but left very little time for painting.

After the death of my husband in 2005, I sold the one remaining restaurant, my house, and moved to be closer to family. I have found a wonderful group of artist friends and am very involved in the arts.

I have never been content to learn just one thing, so my interests have grown to include painting with oils, acrylics and watercolors; making dolls from sculpey and self hardening clays; fiber arts, and in August I completed my first bronze. What a thrill.

I hope to make this blog interesting and would be happy to chat with you and answer questions. I really haven't found a good outlet for showing my work, so will from time to time be posting pictures of my latest works.

Today I'll be showing my latest thrill - the bronze. I took a class from Darwin Wolfe, a sculptor living in Sioux Falls. The sculpture is approximately 8" tall and was originally sculpted in wax. The class had the good fortune of watching the process of the casting at the foundry in Sioux Falls and I definitely want to do more.

Enjoy the bronze. She was done from a photo I took of a little girl coming up out of the water on a beach in Florida. I call her "Joy."