Saturday, July 25, 2009


The more I read as I flip through resource material the more my heart goes out to this often misunderstood animal. This began to show at the easel yesterday. Painting definately does not happen from the elbow down when dealing with the wolf. this animal represents a life form and that has stood the test of time at the whim of humans who have worshiped them and needlessly slaughtered them and that is still going on today.
"If we could live like wolves,
we would never hate our brothers
and sisters just for being of different colors.
We would live together in harmony,
knowing that the well-being of the others
would be the basis of our own well-being.
We wold care for each other
no matter whether young or old or healthy or sick.
We would look after nature
because we would understand
that we need Her to survive.
and we would kill for one reason only-for food.
What a perfect place earth could be,
if only we could be like wolves."
edited by amber rose

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The other studio project has been to develop an animal series that I can sell on line. This category of painting has always been there to play with as additional entertainment in the studio and i am beginning to accumulate a nice selection of finished work.
Hopefully, I can have a website of just animal paintings and drawings up and running by the end of this sumer.

When painting a specific animal I spend time reading about it and then find as many images as possible to simply observe closely. After getting acquainted there is the fun project of painting what I studied.The wolf is a complicated creature. Intelligent and resourceful. This painted has just begun to look for that.
"There is no question that the wolf is hampered by the worst press in all the animal kingdom."_Robt H. Busch

Monday, July 20, 2009


Today was one of those times when you walk into the studio and the composition has already been activated in your mind. Maybe it happened when counting out corn at a fresh veg. stand or walking the dog. The important thing is that it feels like a gift of the gods. so many times the painter strives for days to click into the "right" lines, or find that you are too tight to make quality marks that day.
I haven't worked in combinations of figures in a long time. If this still looks promising tomorrow, i'll dive in and begin painting .

Monday, July 13, 2009


     After selecting the images from the sketches in the slide show below, I begin diving into the project of a painting. This will be a 4' x 4' composition. 
     When preparing a background , my preference is to create a setting that is not narrative and rather abstract. I want it to have an energy and direction that can hold up to that of the moving figure.
     This process is ongoing even as the figure(s) are worked onto the canvas.


Thursday, July 9, 2009


There is nothing like a dear friend and fellow artist to pull you back on track.

Choreographer James Canfield is rehearsing in town with Sarah Slipper's NorthWest Dance Project.

It feels like old home week. James invited me into his rehearsals nine years ago and I haven't stopped drawing movement since.
After leaving Oregon Ballet Theatre, James is now Artistic Director of the Nevada Ballet.
His dynamic floor work provides wonderful notes that have me racing into the paint studio again.

The slide show attached is a selection of notes sketched over the last few weeks.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Brush and ink have given me sweet sessions of peace this week. I must remember to keep these supplies out and ready at all times.

"If doing artwork is too relaxing, you may need something to make you tense. Try swimming."
     K. Tanahashi

Monday, May 4, 2009


The parade of shinny clever crows are still catching my eye. Yesterday I sat outside with Sumi ink, brush and paper and captured gestures much like being in the ballet studios . What fun. Especially after having read Kazuaki Tanahashi who wrote Brush Mind and I quote: "The quality of the line is what matters most-how deep, strong, or honest it is. It doesn't matter how good or unusual it looks".

Friday, April 24, 2009


It's that time of year when the sun and warmth lures us out of the studio. Our back yard is old, large and loaded with animal and plant life.
This is also when the crows strut around in those shiny black feathers and begin luring me into sketching and photographing them. This bird in particular has so many physical gestures  and expressions. I can feel it now.  sketch pad in hand and crow calling, crow landing, crow flying with mate, crow eating , crow, crow crow! 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time spent being out in the community does cause some studio strain and yet I have found that being out among interested adults and school populations  has been rewarding. As I shift back into my work routine there is an added enrichment to what I do as well as a  feeling of being fortunate enough to do it. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Westview High School  in Beaverton for a Career day event as one of many speakers. It was fun to talk about art as a career choice and to see so many students attend the session. Hopefully that gained something that will make their journey easier. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Meanwhile back to rehearsal and the quick sketches. As I read other blogs of artists it is amazing to see the variety of topics for inspiration. We are everywhere! Looking at cows, cowgirls, trees, stumps, shacks, barns and long streets. Lucky us.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Big and Small

In her blog, painter, Karin Jurick recently talked about how working on a small painting is a break from the more challenging work on a large canvas.

I find the same kind of relief with windows that I often put on my large pieces. The one on this canvas in progress may or may not stay in the composition but it has served the purpose of a relaxing distraction.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Paintings teach Us

When painting from the on- sight sketch and the memory of seeing that dancer move, it doesn't always come down on canvas the way I had planned. The two dimensional canvas and the paint can often cause the image to tighten up and become confined in the composition. This week is an example of that.

By painting out the ineffective areas and re-drawing the gesture I can put life into the form again.  I am thinking that most painters are humored by the sometimes surprising outcomes of their calculated intentions and that feeling a little bit more experienced because of it.   

Monday, March 16, 2009

From Newsprint to Canvas

This posting shows the process of taking a gesture from the actual rehearsal sketch and developing that idea on a canvas . The next few days will determine the outcome of this project.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Double Dutch

Those who remember jumping double dutch are aware of the skills necessary to be successful: timing, rhythm, concentration and endurance, to name just a few.

I am presently jumping double dutch between two different easels and topics in my studio this week and find it invigorating. One is a canvas that i am developing from the recent OBT performance and the other is a paper piece of a lion. The contrast of subject matter is entertaining even if there are some days i trip on the "rope". Then I go to a rehearsal or the zoo.

My question has to do with other artists' and the number of works that are actively being painted on daily.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grandchildren and Inspiration

Before continuing with the series of drawings from the recent Oregon Ballet performance, I chose to share a request from my 17 year old granddaughter.

She has asked me to paint her three paintings of large cats. At Christmas I have her a Panther. An unnerving thing to do for a teenager in that phase of brilliant one moment and out to lunch the next.

The posted painting of the request for a Tiger came down easily and with the confidence that I had already passed the "cool" test.

It's amazing to me how much influence grandchildren can have on an artist and wouldn't that be a great idea for a book?!?

Any comments on this topic are welcomed.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

From Rehearsals to the Stage

The next six sketches posted here are fresh from recent rehearsals at the Oregon Ballet theatre.

I specifically focused on a piece called Lambarena. It is full of moves that are liberating to the soul. Performers move to the high energy and seductive rhythm of African music and with Bach slipping in for a clever contrast. All in the name of Ballet.

I Can't wait to see how it all looks on stage this weekend and encourage everyone to consider the privilege of seeing this on stage along with Rite of Spring and Ash. For information go to OBT.ORG

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Of Birds and Ballet

My office is in a separate location from the studio so I can accomplish desk work without the distraction of whatever painting is on the easel.  However, there is one pleasant distraction I can work beside and that is the bird life that occupies our backyard and the many feeders.  In the mid-afternoon the crows and flickers arrive for their shift.  It's amusing to watch them take flight with a single hop, a runway take off or a drop from a tree. 

When at a rehearsal later today there will be an attempt at flight as the dancers leap with such power and grace they seem suspended in the air.  It's exhilarating to see the human form airborne using only their strength to defy gravity, even for a few seconds. 

There are many images of the dancer in flight in my pile of sketches, but none of  a bird.  That's a challenge worth taking on.  That lift off when the body of the bird collects itself in such a way as to become instantly airborne.  Any takers?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


This week has been a combination of dance rehearsals at the Oregon Ballet Theatre, outstanding performances in sports with the tennis finals at the Australian Open, and the NFL Superbowl.  

When reviewing my sketches from these events I am struck by their similarities.  Even though art philosophers have written many chapters on the topic of the cross referencing that exists in sports and dance, it is still exciting to see it come down on the sketch pad in front of you.  

The image to the right is an example of this daily revelation.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beyond the Studio

As I read other artists' blogs it is gratifying to see that we are all in search of subject matter for inspiration to draw and paint.

In these last few days since coming on board, I have overwhelmed myself looking at the wonderful works of artists mentioned on Annie Salnes's blog.

All this to say that going Blog requires one to look up and out from the discipline and safety of the studio and join hands in the name of creativity.  Art making can be isolating and insulating.  Extending one's self to not only the community but to other artists balances out a need I became too busy to notice.

The second posting is a gesture drawn from notes taken at a rehearsal with Alonzo King Ballet.  His company is high on energy and dynamic moves.  I rally whenever he comes to town or nearby :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Adventuring into the blog world as an artist


After  a month of acquainting myself with the blog activity of other artists I am ready to begin posting small studies from quick sketches at dance rehearsals I have attended this year.  

The original gestures are being translated to 9 by 12 inch bristol paper using an apple twig and black ink on thin acrylic paint.  This application allows for the irregular lines that help accentuate the figures movement and by freeing up the anatomy of the figure.  

These gestures will appear frequently on this blog.  After a month or so of practice, I plan to post such works for sale at an affordable price and hopefully  eventually move into posting paintings as well.  Any input, questions, and especially conversations are welcome.