20 years with this Artist’s Muse

Over time, the word has come to refer to a person who is an artist’s source of inspiration, driving their creativity through the formation of an intuitive, visceral, and complex relationship. Often collaborating with artists in their most seminal works, the muse elevates their status and emboldens their practice. http://quote reference

My Granddaughter Emily turns 20 years old today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY PUNK!

Both born in May only 40 years apart.

This girl has blessed my life in ways I can never put words to. She is truly beautiful on the inside and outside. Emily is a light to those around her. She Loves BIG and and truly cares for all that she meets. She glows with love , laughter and life,

although I don’t think she knows it or believes me when I tell her so.

But I guess that I can understand that. I mean if you are a person that lights up the room with your presence, the light proceeds you as you walk into a room, so you don’t really see any big change in the room or the lives that you enter, but others definitely feel it and see it. I just can’t get enough of drawing and painting this amazing beautiful soul! Though no matter how good I ever get at my craft I will never be able to paint her as radiant as she really is.



  1. 1.sending out light; shining or glowing brightly.

Emily has been my biggest inspiration, encouragement, and supporter of me in my art and My life! She has always encouraged me to press forward on anything I think might be to big for me to attempt. She is always there to tell me that “You can do it Granny, You are amazing!”

I sometimes think that She thinks that I could grow wings and fly if I wanted to. And If I could, she would be the one I would want to do it for.

Happy Birthday my beautiful Muse! I LOVE YOU EVER SO MUCH! Keep JESUS in your life and keep on Shinning. This world always needs more light in it! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Three Foot Rule!

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,

Let me walk upon the waters,

Where ever you would call me,

Take me deeper then my feet would ever wander,

that my faith would be made stronger,

In the presence of my savior

My heart has sung this song so many times in the past few years, and my soul meant every word of it. Of course I admit I thought my journeys would be more of the metaphorical type. LOL! This is sort of a ‘Lord send me anywhere but Africa kind of story.” LOL!

So, I left you hanging at the end of January with us putting our house in Oregon up for sale. Our hearts had already made the move to Florida but our heads were still trying to catch up with the game.

This story begins on the third day of showing the house, after the third viewer made us a full price offer and we accepted it. It was so exciting. It was so terrifying. It was wonderful and horrible.

It is so strange how you can feel two seemingly opposite emotions at the same time. But you can! As I started to tell the people I love that we would be moving to Florida for sure I was so surprised by their responses. Our Kids were, of course, so supportive and happy for us. Though they were also very sad as were we. That didn’t really surprise me that much.

Turns out our kids were the easy ones to tell. It was harder to tell my grown grandkids. I figured my Eldest Grandson would be cool with it as he has moved away for work and has a lovely girl friend and is creating his own new life.

My Granddaughter is also grown and off to college and doing a great job of it, and I am so very proud of her! I have a special bond with all of my grandkids, but Em and I have grown even closer over the last few years as she has become a young woman. She loves to come and just hang out with me on stressful weekends when she can get away from school. We laugh together and sometimes cry together. We put puzzles together but our favorite thing is to play a card game called spit. I taught her to play this game years ago when I was at the top of my game, and I’m proud to say she has become the master and has dethroned my record. LOL! When I told her that we were moving, she and I cried together for a very long time.

The whole month of February my husband and I sorted, cleaned, fixed up, packed up, cleared out, laughed and cried. I looked forward to and dreaded every weekend at the same time. On the weekends all the kids and grandkids when they could make it down would come over and spend a couple days helping us with all that needed to be done. I made a declaration right away that I called the three foot rule. This rule states that if you come within three feet of me you need to stop and give me a big hug. I was great at first, all the hugs were amazing and came with giggles. I was on a mission and excited to get it done. Then at one point I was standing in my bedroom surrounded by all my girls and one of them said out loud ‘Three foot rule” and they all moved in to hug me. I just started the ugly cry right there and then. So of course my eldest Daughter had to get a photo. Photo included along with other three foot rule photos

Ya know sometimes in your life you wonder if you are doing what the Lord wants you to do. You struggle with making decisions and question the sanity of those decisions. I know I do. But this was not one of those times. God showed up and was evident in every step of this process.

Just a few of the ways God showed up :

  • My husband lost his job/ retired making it possible for us to move, which we never would have decided to do because it wasn’t part of our precious retirement plan.
  • We both started waking up earlier and earlier for a couple of weeks, not of our own doing, but it just happened. We woke early, worked all day going thru things and going to bed earlier because we were exhausted. So by February our bodies were already on Florida time, before we even moved.
  • In September of last year we planned a vacation to visit our kids in Florida. We purchased our tickets for February 28th. The tickets were an outrageous price but my husband said to buy them anyway! Which he never does. He is a serious penny pincher. I remember asking him then, “what have you done with my husband!”
  • Then the sale of our house in Oregon “just happened to” close on February 27th. We flew out the next day. God planned that months in advance for us.
  • At the beginning of February we needed to book a PODS container to ship our belongings to Florida. At the time we had no idea where we would be moving to. We had looked at a few houses on line but we were planning on moving in with our daughter in law’s parents and then look for a place. We scheduled the PODS container to be dropped off (so we could load our stuff) on the 24th of Feb and pick it up on the 27th. Then it would travel across country and would arrive on the 11th of March. We had scheduled it to be delivered to our son’s house to serve as a storage unit until we found a place.
  • Then a few weeks later our daughter in law sent us a link to a large house in Lakeland with an in-law suite attached. This was a house we could buy together with them. With Twins on the way they were fast out growing their home. This house was large enough to hold their growing family comfortably and give us our own side of the house. It was beautiful and Lindsay and I decided right away that this was the home for us. It was perfect for us to be close and be able to help out with the new babies and the three older boys. Well we put in a long shot offer and it was accepted over the rest. We closed on that house March 9th and guess what day we moved in? That’s right, the 11th. so on the 9th we changed the Pod’s delivery address to our new address and it showed up before all of our helpers.

This whole move has been filled with things like this. It has been amazing. God is so good! So you would think that I’m on cloud nine all the time. And I am much of the time. I know we are where God wants us. I’m happy to be near my Son’s family and grandkiddos. I love my new home. Yet I miss my Oregon family and friends so very much and my heart aches for them.

I’m a very small town girl who is very uncomfortable with change and now I live in a Big City and Everything in my life is new and different. New state, New house, New neighborhood, new neighbors, New house noises, new vehicle when we can find one we like, new surroundings, New stores, new weather, new church… and hopefully soon new friends! You name it, It’s new.

Since I’ve been here I’ve been warned not to touch any plant unless I know what it is, It might be poisonous. I’ve been warned about alligators, Pythons, fire ants, Some huge spider I forget the name of but we have killed one already, water moccasins, mosquitos, and something they call no-see-ums! But I’m not really worried, I will just never ever leave my house. LOL! Just kidding!

In Oregon all I had to worry about was black widow spiders, rattle snakes, bear and cougars. Oh and BIG FOOT of course. Apparently everything in Florida wants to kill you! Oh Florida has the bears and cougars too! SO I do feel more at home knowing that! LOL!

I guess I am telling you all this to let you know that it’s ok to feel all the feelings. God knew I would miss my Oregon kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors. And that they would miss me. That is how it should be, because we love each other big! But with every heartache of things I miss, there is joy in the people and things I have here.

I do often still ask myself “Why am I here?” I think it’s still my head trying to figure it all out because my soul always comes right back with “Because the Lord invited you!” It is well with my soul and I do so LOVE MY LIFE!

New Beginnings

Have you ever watched a movie where in one scene the character is going on and on about how they would never do something, like I’ll never love again, or I could never marry that man, or You would never catch me doing that… Only to see them in the very next scene doing the thing they said they would never do? Well that is the kind of story I’m about to tell.

The summer I turned 16 my family moved from my childhood home in Ohio, uprooting me from everyone and everything I knew and loved. My best friends, my neighborhood, my big Red farmhouse that I loved, My Grandma… I think you get the picture.

I moved that summer to Texas to live with my sister, then I moved to California to be with my parents, then about a year later I got married and moved into an apartment with my new hubby. Then 3 months later we moved to Oregon to live near family that had settled in Glide, then months later moved to another house in glide. Where we had our first daughter. Shortly after she was born my husband got a new job so we moved to a rental in Myrtle Creek, then when I was 19 we purchased our home in Myrtle creek and moved again. In total I had moved 6 times in 3 years.

This is where this story begins. I was so sick of moving that I began digging my heals in and telling everyone that “You will have to drag my dead body out of this house because I am NEVER MOVING AGAIN!” This has been my story, my truth for over 40 years now. In fact I said these very words to someone in December of 2022. And meant every word of it.

Our Son moved to Florida years ago before he was married and for the last 6 years or so he and his wife have been suggesting that we could move to be near them. This was always met with laughter and the above statement. You see, I love Oregon. I don’t love Florida! I love my Home here that I have remodeled from top to bottom with my own hands, to be exactly the way I wanted it to be, comfortable and secure during our retirement years. I love my Yard that I have tilled, landscaped, laid pavers and where every plant that my children have given me on mothers day over the years are planted and bloom every May! I love laying in our hammocks on hot summer nights star gazing. Something I used to do with my parents, then with our children even with our Oregon grandchildren, and now just the two of us, my precious husband and I and the sky.

Just before Christmas My husband needed to retire early. Details are not important but we were planning on him working about three more years as we saved more money to live off of during retirement. I was devastated, and cried off and on for a week. My security seemed to vanish, my plans pulled away without warning.

This next part will probably not make sense to you, but I’ll try to explain. My family uses movie quotes and song lyrics woven into normal conversations to communicate. It’s our own little language and inside joke sometimes that others just don’t understand. Unless they have seen the movie and catch on. As I woke one morning on the verge of tears again, a quote from the movie Galaxy Quest popped into my mind.

Now for your sake I will give the quote context. The movie is a spoof on Star Trek and there is a character named Guy who was an extra in one of the shows episodes where he ends up dying in the end of said episode. So now we are in the apex of the movie and the evil aliens are attacking. So Guy says to one of the other characters something to the effect like “I’ll just go out and fight him, I’m going to die anyway. The extra always dies…” here the other character grabs his shoulders and says “What if you have this all wrong? what if you are the plucky comic relief?”

I knew the Lord was talking to me, and yes in movie quotes the way I communicate best. I knew that I had been looking at everything from the wrong point of view. What if this wasn’t bad news at all but instead something good? I was reminded that my security was not in my husbands job, or saved up money. Not even in my home, or the things that I hold dear. But it has always been in the Lord!

” My heart grew three times bigger that day!” sorry , another movie quote reference. My attitude was changed in that moment, and Just like in The Grinch That Stole Christmas, my heart began to grow and change. Well My life did anyway. With those few words from an obscure weird movie that I love, my heart and mind began a secret mission of changing me. And Not only was the Lord working on me but he was also changing my husbands.

In the first week of January 2023, As I looked out my back door at my garden one day I said to my contented self, “I love my yard!” and that still small voice said “But it is only a yard” and my head and heart agreed and in that moment I felt myself letting go of my yard. Then a couple of days later the same thing happened as I said to myself “I love my house” it was like I was watching myself third person. Seeing myself let go so easily I would think to myself “This is so weird! What is happening.” This went on for days with so many things that I “LOVE”

Then during a video chat with our Florida Son and his family, They told us the great news that they were expecting Twins in July. I was over the moon. But sad at the same time because I already miss my three grandsons and I only get to visit them like once a year. But now it would be 5 grandchildren. But even that didn’t make my mind shift into thinking about moving. Toward the end of the conversation our eldest grandson Grey said “Papa, some day I’m going to come to your house and play with your train set” and I knew that that wouldn’t ever happen. Mom and Dad could never fly here with 5 kiddos in tow. The thought came that the only way he could come play with Papa’s train set was if Papa moved his house to be closer to them.

This thought started growing like a seed inside my heart and my head. I started sneaking a peek at real estate prices in the town the kids live in just to see if we could even afford to get a nice place near them. Prices were comparable and It was possible! and I found a few cute homes that I liked. One evening I sheepishly showed my husband the house I liked best, totally expecting him to put the kibosh on it right away and laugh it off. But what he said floored me. He said ” When we move, we are only taking a few pieces of furniture but we will leave the appliances with the house…” I was so shocked that he was saying it as if the decision was already made.

The next day we woke an hour or so before usual and just started clearing out cabinets and closets getting rid of stuff we didn’t need. Saying “We won’t need to take this with us”… followed by “we probably won’t move, but it never hurts to clear out things we don’t need.” It was the weirdest thing I have ever experienced. The Lord was covertly changing our hearts to accept it all, and our bodies were listening to him speak, but our heads took a little longer to except it all.

Our Kids all gave us confirmation that this was the right decision and they have spent the last few weekends helping us clear things out , box things up and stage the house. The house went on the market Saturday and Sunday we had two showings. We don’t know where this rollercoaster is headed too. We don’t know how long the ride will be. But we know that God is driving, so we are just throwing our hands in the air and enjoying the ride. I’ll let ya all know how it ends up!

House for sale!

First Steps

I loved this photo from the very first moment I saw it, as I do most of Naomi’s Photographs. This one is of my two grandsons so of course it had to become my next painting.

In this painting I was playing with focus. I wanted my detail on their little faces. Here I softly blended shadows and light to create more realistic features. But when it came to the clothing I painting with broad strokes because i wanted more to just indicate detail. When you stand back and look at this painting It looks almost like a photograph, But as you investigate closer you see the detail is a lot less clear in those clothing areas then in the faces.

At first I painted from the reference just as it was. As I progressed I realized that something was wrong. Something was drawing my eyes away from the boys and that frustrated me. So I stopped painting on it for a couple of days to analyze it. It was troubling to me but I just couldn’t put my finger on the problem. The reference photo is so beautiful Just the way it is so what could be the problem?

A fellow artist/friend was over painting with me one day and so I asked her what she thought. She saw it right away.

The problem was the large white spaces on either side of the stairs. You see the eye is naturally drawn to the point of greatest contrast. So the bright walls beside the dark stairs was a greater contrast than the boys skin against the stairs. She suggested that I modify the painting to remove the wall on the left, taking the steps all the way to the edge of the painting. This would draw the eye to the right side where I wanted it. Her suggestion was right on and it worked perfectly. You can slide the arrows on the images back and forth to see the difference it made.

I had so much fun working on the wood grain and the reflections in the shinny floor and steps. Also as you can see in the top right photo of the completed painting, I darkened the wall on the right so it would not compete with the boys as center of attention.

The thing I’ve learned most from this process over the years is that there is a big difference between what makes a good photograph and what translates well into a great painting. I love this reference photo. It’s perfect. I look at it and I see only my grandsons. But when translating it into a painting I had to create an allusion that would draw your attention to exactly where I wanted you to look.

So NOTE TO ARTISTS as an artist feel free to edit and change what is in front of you. Add and take away items to tell the story that you want told. If you are painting a landscape and there are electric lines in your view but you want to convey a cleaner more peaceful scene, take them out. Or if the is a great tree far away from a barn you want to paint. Move that tree to where it will tell your story best.

Please feel free comment below or contact me on the contact page if you have any questions about this blog or you would like to chat about having your own commissioned painting done.

Special Thanks for Reference Photo By Naomi Vacaro

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Draw Me Ever So Close

Years ago I penned a song titled Draw me Close. It was really a prayer of sorts. The chorus lyrics say:

“Draw me close where I can hear your heartbeat oh Lord. Draw me close where i can feel your Holy Breath on me. Draw me close where I can know that I am your own. Draw me ever so close.”

I suppose when I wrote it my mind envisioned me always sitting on (my Father) God’s lap, always happy, safe, feeling loved and protected.

Many of you know that the last five years have been very hard on me. Let’s face it the last couple of years have been hard on everyone. But about 4 and a Half years ago I lost my sister Sherry. My world seemed to crumble. I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t think to even pray more than to say “Oh God.” I was either numb or enveloped in crushing grief and gut wrenching sobs. There didn’t seem to be much of anything else in between. I preferred the numbness if I’m being totally honest.

As far as my Faith goes, It never faltered. I never questioned God I was at peace with it. But I was in deep pain from the loss. I went from being someone who boldly came into my Father’s presence praying out loud, to being a little girl, silent in her pain.

I don’t remember much about the first couple of years really, except feeling bad that I wasn’t doing my daily prayer time anymore. (meaning I wasn’t setting aside a specific time and place each day to pray and go through my list of prayer requests and needs.) Instead I sat in silence.

I still talked to God everyday, all the time, though it could not be heard by others, through the whispers of my soul. I just couldn’t bear the thoughts and pain of verbalizing it all. I don’t even think I could concentrate enough to put things in a coherent voice. You know the feeling. You have one of those days when you are hurting so bad inside. Maybe you are at work or at school and you hope you don’t see your best friend. You know if you even make eye contact with them you will just burst into tears and do the ugly cry in front of God and everybody. Well it was like that, except it was with God only. I couldn’t bear to make eye contact with Him.

The enemy always comes to shout at me in times when I’m wounded. I bet he does for you too. I would hear him say “You should be praying every day! God is going to be mad at you because you don’t talk to him anymore. You are probably not even going to go to heaven if you don’t start doing all the things God expects you to do!” I was tempted to believe all of the lies and did believe a few for a time. Strangely enough though, even when the enemy was yelling at me, I knew it was ok to sit in my silence, God knew what my soul couldn’t verbalize and He understood me and still loved me.”

Covid came crashing in to our world. Concerned that they might bring the illness with them and it in turn would bring death with it to my husband and I, my children and grandkids stayed away. For the first month or so my husband didn’t even hug me much because he worked with the public and was afraid he would bring it home and I guess afraid it would kill me. So even though we were in our isolation together I felt so alone. My soul whispered a little quieter and the hurt got bigger.

It was during this time that our youngest Son came over to visit me (OUTSIDE, from a distance) and told me he had cancer. The word Lymphoma was SO BIG and SO SCARY. I couldn’t even hold him or kiss him the way a mother’s heart needs to in a time like that and I will never get that moment back to do it right. For days after that day every once in a while I would make Eye contact with (my Father) God and the dam would burst and I would cry the ugly cry uncontrollably and unburden my soul. Afterword only to pull myself into a ball again so my soul could cry out in a whisper once more.

On and on it goes, one thing after another troubles came. New pains, New Illnesses, new trials, losses of people I loved, depression, heavy weights taking residence in my soul,… Some to heavy to bear, Some just heavy because I was carrying so much already. Again eye contact would be made. Again I would do the ugly cry and plead out loud for mercy. Again I would pull myself up into a ball and again my soul cried out in whispers. The Enemy yelled louder at me but again I knew it was ok, God knew what my soul couldn’t verbalize and He understood me and still loved me.

Today I was actually praying out loud. I was singing and talking to Jesus out loud as naturally as breathing. I really don’t know when I started doing this again. I’m sure it happened just a few words at a time, probably weeks apart. But today I noticed what I was doing. When I did, I saw as clear as day a Daddy holding his crying child who had fallen and hurt herself one too many times. The child pulled up tight and pressing into her daddy’s chest. Though the memories of the pain were fresh in her mind, her dirty bloodied knees were now numb by the grace of God. But every once in a while she would open her eyes and see the blood and relive the fall and the pain. Because she anticipated renewed and maybe even greater pain she refused to let him touch her wounds to clean them and bandage them, pushing his big hands away. Then she would cry louder, sure that she would surely bleed to death before this terrible ordeal was over. Again she would ball up tight protecting her knees. while her daddy drew her in closer to his heart to reassure her that he would heal her pain. Placing a kiss on her forehead and whispering in a small voice for only her to hear, telling her “It’s ok, Daddy is here. I know it hurts but it will get better. I love you child!” And immediately I was reminded of the title to the song I wrote years ago.

The picture the Lord showed me told me loud and clear that though the enemy had shouted bold faced lies about God never wanting me near Him again after the way I have neglected Him, My Father God was holding me on his lap, Drawing me Ever So Close, all that time, And now clearly I could Hear God’s heart beat and feel His Holy breath on me as He was telling me, “It’s ok, I hear your soul’s whispers just fine and I understand. I love you child.”

It hadn’t been in the Happy Safe feeling times that I had imagined when I penned the song but in the balled up, soul whispering times that my prayer of drawing close to God was answered.

Life can be hard. I cry for a different family member with cancer now. But it’s also so VERY BEAUTIFUL. I have an amazing new grandson that I haven’t met yet but I’m so blessed that he is healthy and happy. Time is healing my grief. My son’s cancer is in remission. Covid, well wasn’t the monster my children had imagined for me. Though it came to visit several times and stayed far to long. It is gone from our home for the time being. Life goes on. New trials are on their way I’m sure. Old ones still linger, not anxious to leave. My God is GOOD and FAITHFUL and He keeps His promises. But most importantly He has faithfully DRAWN ME EVER SO CLOSE, and it is well with my soul.

Matthew 11: 28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


Last year I got the privilege to hold my young grandsons for a 2 week period. I loved playing hard and resting with cuddles. The second week of my visit was more cuddles then playing hard as I had come down with covid, but didn’t know it. One day I just woke up and i was very weak, tired, and my legs would buckle under me. I never had any of the typical symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, soar throat… Just couldn’t stand up and walk for any length of time.

The boys were great with sitting and cuddling with me as I put my feet up. Grey the oldest boy even handed me his beloved stuff toy one day and told me that DOG would help me sleep better during my nap time. This was such a precious gift because Grey couldn’t sleep without him. It just melted my heart. But that’s what grandkids do to us Grandmas!

One day during this cuddle time I looked down to see that the boys had intertwined themselves around my arms, making it hard to see where they ended and I began. I had been wanting to do a series on hands and feet for a while, but never had the inspiration. But this, I knew was the moment I had been waiting for. So I asked my daughter in law Emily to take a quick photo before the boys moved.

It was months before I had recovered enough to actually work on the painting. It turned out I has gotten long covid.

My vision had just the arms and legs without faces but to do that I would need a custom made canvas. Frankly by the time I got feeling good enough to paint it I just didn’t want to wait any longer for the new stretcher bars to arrive. So I just framed it the same as the photo and started.

The more I blocked it in the more dissatisfied with it I became. I felt that by leaving the boys faces in the painting it looked more like it was going to be a portrait. But as a Portrait it felt weird because my head was cut out of the painting. Right?

So, As I worked on it during art class I began to tell my students that I was going to put this painting on a smaller canvas cutting out the faces as I had originally envisioned. They all protested, but I was certain that that was what the painting needed. SO I ordered the new stretcher bars and waited.

Cropping it, I finally had it exactly the way I originally had envisioned it. SO I proceeded to add details until I had finished. It now proudly hangs in my living room reminding me everyday of my sweet Florida boys!

If you have any Questions or comments please comment below! I would love to hear from you.

For prints you can find this and other pieces I’ve painted on FineArtAmerica by clicking this link.

Shared Surprise

Shared Surprise is #4 in my Motherhood series. This painting tells the story of sharing the joy of a new baby with your older child/ children. I have kinda haloed mother and child not because this is the Madonna and child but because of the sacredness of motherhood itself.

My reference was a little more challenging this time as it was in Black and white. But there were others in the photo shoot that were edited in color so I used them as reference as well.

My usual process of drawing my image onto the canvas and blocking in color and value were followed to the T. It was so important to me to get the body language drawn correctly as it tells such a beautiful story. This photo took me back to when my mamma told me that I was going to be a big sister.

I have this image hanging on a cabinet door in my studio! I love this photo of me and my mom!

OK, So back to this painting, LOL! To harmonise with the other paintings in the series I kept the color pallet the same and the style the same. but when I got everything painted in I felt I needed to darken the floor to ground my subject so they were not floating. I also darkened the edges of the iron oxide back ground and left the haloed affect that I desired.

Again I left the fine details undone. there are no individual strands of hair, in fact there are no sharp defined details. Instead this one is left a bit blurry to represent a memory of a special moment in time.

Here are the 4 Motherhood Series paintings along with a few others waiting to be hung at

Mindpower Gallery in Reedsport Oregon. Prints of all these paintings are available on Fine Art America as well.

Sacred Solace

Sacred Solace is painting #3 of the motherhood series. There is so much about painting this one that excited me as an artist. I love the brightness of the painted background. I’m absolutely in love with the mother”s hands that gently supports her child’s bottom and head as he looks around exploring with innocence his new world.

My reference photo was granted to me by photographer and Author Naomi Lynn. I just adore her work!

Again I pre-toned the canvas in the transparent iron oxide. I absolutely loved how the background turned out, dark in some spots and glowing in others. Working with that glow I allowed the reflected light of the painting to actually be the background showing through.

Notice in the reference photo how the dress is a darker but similar color to the flesh tones. This works wonderfully in the photo, blending the two figures beautifully into one against a dark background.

What works to make something a great photo does not always work to make is a great painting. The artist has to decide what story she wants her painting to tell. Where do I want to direct the viewers eyes? What Feeling do I want to convey?

In my painting the color of her dress in the reference photo more closely resembles the background of the painting. So I decided to transposed the colors by taking the greenish blue back ground of the reference and putting a dark greenish blue dress on her in the painting. I felt that the contrast of the dark teal dress would draw your attention to their pail smooth skin, body language and facial expressions.

As always I followed my usually steps of blocking in and getting tones, values and shapes right. Then touching just a few dabs of blue color around the face. Normally I would blend these colors into the wet flesh tones making them more subtle. But when I stood back, I decided that she was perfect the way she was.

This may surprise you , but this was very hard for me to physically do. I actually had to leave the studio for several days, just so I wouldn’t fiddle with the paint. I really feel it would have ruined the painting to refine and define her more, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. I’m so glad now that I listened to that voice inside telling me she was done.

Sleepless Surrender

Sleepless Surrender is the second in my Motherhood series. I fell in love with this photo used by permission of Photographer and Author Naomi Lynn

This Mother and Child Figurative painting is the second in my Motherhood series. This painting reflex the sleepless nights and the selfless sacrifice of a mother to do what is needed for the the child to have peace and be able to sleep, even if that means she stay awake. I was drawn to the beauty in the the exhausted eyes depicting not only her tiredness but also a relaxed peace that at least finally her child has found rest.

As always I start by drawing the image out onto my canvas. With this series I have pre-toned the canvas with a thin coat of transparent Iron oxide. This is such a vibrant color and adds such a glow to the background and even shines thought the layers of paint that go over it, giving the painting a warmth that expresses motherhood perfectly.

I then block in the basic values, tones, highlights and dark shadows, paying attention to shape and form.

Once I have all the basics in place and I am happy with the composition and colors I have chosen I will start to add in detail and add layers of glazing to push and pull the values darker or lighter where needed and to add a look of reflected light.

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Sleepless Surrender

While I usually push my paintings into a realism with fine blending and detail, I wanted to leave this series blocky and un edited you might say. Raw, Real, yet Unfinished. These are the feelings I’m trying to portray. My use of bold color and contrast of cool and warm tones is to show the contrast in emotions that so comfortably sit side by side in a mothers struggle to care properly for her children. A sacrifice that is not always appreciated by the baby, toddler youth or teen. But she continues on doing her best anyway. No Matter What, because she loves her children more than life itself!

40 Year Together

Reference Photo by Kellie Doschades Trenkle

After 40 years of marriage I finally painted a portrait of my husband and I together as a Christmas gift for him. Double portraits can be tricky because they have 2 unique personalities and faces to paint, AND you have to get them right so they are recognizable.

I love this reference photo because of the tenderness in my husbands face as he kisses my forehead. This man loves me so very well! Getting my husbands features right was easy. I could probably paint him in my sleep. I know his face so well. I thought that capturing that look of love would be the difficult part, but that came easily too.

Surprisingly (to me anyway) was the trouble I had painting myself. After all I have known me all of my life, right! LOL! But that also might have been my problem. When I look at myself I see the wrinkles, the tires eyes, my wide nose and double chin. And those are just the physical things I see. My list of personal flaws is much bigger. SO I see my mistakes, my sailors and places where I just don’t measure up. I also know I’m not the only one who has this distorted view of myself. Am I right?

Anyway I got the painting to where I thought it was done, but one of my dearest artist friends told me to take my image further. She said “you are way more beautiful than that!” Which for some reason was hard and awkward for me to hear. But she wouldn’t let me call it finished until I had captured the me that she sees. AND I am very thankful for that. Not just because it improved the painting but because It lifted me up when I didn’t even know I needed lifted.

If you have been looking into a mirror of distortion while seeing your reflection, I would like to encourage you today, as my friend did for me. You are not the sum of your flaws and mistakes. You are loved, You are beautiful! The Bible tells us that “While we were yet sinners ( That’s all of us) GOD demonstrated his LOVE for us by sending Christ to die for us.” Romans 5:8

You were created just as you are by the Master of all Master artists. YOU ARE LOVED!