Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Website Launch!

My pet portrait website has now officially launched, please check it out at

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to paint everyday and grow my business.  I will continue to post here and in a blog on my website.  Here is another glimpse at my pet portraits.

7" x 5" acrylic on panel

Belly was one of my best models!  She is lovely and enjoyed relaxing on my lap while I painted her portrait.  She did not even mind when I needed her to sit back in position or look up at me so that I could try to capture her lovely spirit in those great eyes, thank you Belly. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pet Portraits

Little Jack
5" x 7" 
acrylic on gessobord

I have sketches and photo reference for the images to complete the "Painting Across America" series, but for now, it is on hold.  I just added Illinois with a painting from Horseshoe Lake.  I skipped Kentucky when I posted Illinois since the Kentucky painting is not ready for posting.  Also, will have works from Missouri for the series, since that is the last state we hiked.  I may also include works from our road trip that got us from Missouri back to Oregon, even though they are all drawings at this point.  

When I make the time to paint, I have been painting pet portraits and having a blast.  Here is a glimpse of my pet portrait portfolio with my favorite one of Jack.  I am creating my website with the help of Pyar which will soon launch.  

Painting Across America, Illinois

Horseshoe Lake State Park, Illinois
5" x 7" 
acrylic on gessobord

We made wonderful friends in this part of Illinois.  We enjoyed several days here at this beautiful park.  Unfortunately, every night, we woke to raccoons foraging in our campsite and the area.  Needless to say, Jack was not happy.   

Horseshoe Lake State Park is located on Highway 111 in southern Madison County, Illinois, and is situated on a low flood plain called the American Bottom which follows the Mississippi River down to the Kentucky border. Rivers never follow the same path over extended periods of time and oxbow lakes are formed by the isolated sections created when rivers change direction and cut new channels. Horseshoe Lake was formed in this manner centuries ago and is one of two large oxbow lakes that can be found in Southern Illinois. Only about 10 minutes away from downtown St. Louis, the park offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities on 2,960 acres.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Painting Across America, Arkansas

Lake Dardanelle
8" x 10"
acrylic on gessobord

We had some downtime with family in Arkansas during Memorial Day Holiday.  First, we drove to Russellville to visit Pyar's Papa and family, then we drove to Springdale to visit my brother Mark and family.  Lake Dardanelle is Papa's backyard.  It was a nice break to visit with family on both sides.   After about a week we drove back to Tennessee and visited friend Vickie in Jackson.  We spent a night with them before returning to our stopping point on the hike.  
It was a nice break to connect with loved ones.

Next, we walked from Tennessee to Kentucky.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Painting Across America, Tennessee

Running Water Creek along Hwy 24/134
5" x 7"
acrylic on gessoboard

I painted this on Sunday May 6 along what I think is Running Water Creek.  I found it after seeing several cars pulled off along a county road in one of the most remote parts of Tennessee that we explored.  A couple of people were fishing and a small group had just crossed the creek behind me to explore some caves.  I just wanted peace, and quiet and cooler temperatures.  By now, I had my painting set up pretty streamlined and thus was able to wade down the creek a bit and find some seclusion.  Then, I saw this scene with sunlit crinkles on the water and trickling sounds of rocks and water uniting.  I was set!  I got ready and relaxed to determine what I may want to focus on in the painting.  I had about two hours of painting time when Pyar came to share lunch.  It was a fun lunch and as soon as I finished eating, I started back at the painting.  I knew I could finish it in the similar light of the afternoon and wanted to complete it before meeting up with Pyar again.  Once Pyar finished lunch, he set off back along the county road running parallel to my creek paradise.  Within about five minutes Pyar called on the phone from down the road.  He told me he needed my help and asked if I could walk up the road.  When he mentioned a stray puppy was at stake, I immediately packed.  I could not tell if the painting was finished and at that point was ready to let it go for the day.  I soon realized that Pyar was only a few hundred feet up the road and so I walked to meet him.  I could hear puppy Jack before I saw his pleading eyes.  I gasped, he was so small and between us and him was a thick growth of underbrush, trees and trash and just behind the puppy was the roaring sounds of Hwy 24, a major interstate.  Pyar's plan was for me to stay in front of the puppy while he walked down the county road and was going to circle back and come behind Jack so we could keep him from going into traffic.  As soon as Pyar was behind Jack, the puppy bolted under the barbed wire fence and into heavy interstate traffic. My vision was hampered by the brush and trees separating the two roads and I panicked, inside.  You know the kind that you can hear your heart in your head and you get sweaty thinking about what could be happening but you don't know so you imagine the worst and then wonder if it could possibly be any better and time travels at an all time slow pace?  It's frustrating.  So, I waited.  I knew if Pyar could get to the puppy, all would be well, but I could only hear the whizzing of semis and cars going too fast, just out of my sight.  It was miles before not seeing any homes or dwellings, no stores or crossroads.  I thought we were remote and safe.  I had no idea that the major Highway was within feet of my tranquil creek.  About thirty minutes later, my knees burned from crouching, trying to get a glimpse of what could be happening and thrilled I had not heard any brakes nor any horns at that point, I hear Pyar's sweet voice, 
"Yes!  I'm here! I'm at the fence, did you get the puppy?"
"Yeah, I got him" Pyar said softly.  I saw him then, in Pyar's arms, he was little and quiet and alive.  Pyar handed his warm body over the tall barbed wire fence to my waiting arms.  Jack fell into my chest and his racing heartbeat told me he was still scared.  I held him tight as I quickly descended the cement drainage ditch, managing not to trip.  The puppy's heart rate slowed and he rested his chin on my left shoulder.  Pyar came around and met us.  We hugged and walked to the car.  Jack felt heavier as we walked along and his sighs were deep and long, matching mine.  Soon, we were all three sitting in the shade closer to the creek than the highway, feeling relieved.

To see the video of Jack's rescue and read more, go to

South Cumberland State Park 
5" x 7"
acrylic on gessoboard

Now that we were a party of three, everything changed, for the better.  My explorations were more active and exercise oriented instead of just scouting for campsites and painting spots.  Jack and I quickly became trail buddies.  On this day he found this meadow just behind one of the trail heads, away from people looking at the falls where we just climbed for about two hours.  We were ready for a rest and soft grass,and here we found both.  I was able to make a few studies in pencil and a quick under-painting before we were to meet back up with Pyar.  It was a great day and I loved seeing the earth through Jack's eyes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Painting Across America, Georgia

High Falls State Park, Georgia
7" x 5"
acrylic on gessoboard

This study of High Falls State Park's Falls was my first plein air painting of our trip.  I just received the portable easel and paints from Pyar after getting the car and I was thrilled to be outdoors with the means to capture some memories.  It was a sunny day with a cool breeze and I could sometimes feel the mist off the falls.  This image is from the left bank and a smaller fall.  I enjoyed the process and the opportunity.  Within minutes of picking out this location, I was summoned by someone lower on the banks of the river to go for help and get a ranger.  I ran with my bag and left my paints and easel on the wooded boardwalk.  When I arrived at the ranger station, it was closed for lunch.  I met a former EMT in the military at the entrance to the office who went to the location to see if he could help as I called 911.  Luckily the victim got help and was deemed fine to drive himself home.  I understood from the rangers that he had skipped his medication and maybe had a heart condition.  After a rest and a few sketches, I made this painting.  
It was an incredible afternoon.  During the trip, I soon learned that finding such locations to paint would prove difficult for one reason or another - mostly inaccessibility.  Now, this painting evokes a truly perfect painting experience, great light, great weather and safe spot to let go.  

Red Top Mountain, Georgia
7" x 5"
acrylic on gessoboard

Red Top Mountain was a convenient getaway from nearby Atlanta.  The light was midday and the breeze was downright cold, but I found a fun spot to discover and play with making a painting.  I hoped to capture the tree's reflections along with the cloud's shadows and the water's movements.  It was a fun challenge and I  finished it on another afternoon by glazing the trees back and adding darks to the water.  I like the 'treeness' in this one.  

Coosawattee River, Georgia, (near Ellijay)
5" x 7"
acrylic on gessoboard

This study was a test of my patience.  The bank where I set up was uneven and soft with mud and the weather was growing warmer.  I also dealt with tiny gnats that tended to fly into my eyes and my paints with aggression.  But, looking at the painting, I think I won.  

Old Fort Mountain, State Park, Georgia (Highway 52)
7" x 5"
acrylic on gessoboard

This section was downhill from Old Fort Mountain State Park, in the opposite direction that Pyar walked the day before.  It was one of my proudest moments of the hike.  Pyar had ascended a challenge and now along the descent, I could make a place for us to enjoy lunch and make a painting.  The highway was winding and steep at points.  This turnout was a great spot.  I was initially captured when I was driving along the road by the dark brush that had hues of violet as it let in the blue sky to peer through its leaves.  I had a good time painting this one.  

Thursday, March 01, 2012

March Countdown

Being in the Moment
8" x 10"
acrylic on panel

This painting was inspired by a photograph I took in Japan.  The origami rabbit and origami crane are in a magnolia petal sitting on printed paper.  Our living room in Japan was bright and airy, perfect for setting up stilllifes for paintings.  When I was painting this, I thought of Pyar and I on our adventure across America.  If you have not checked it out yet, please see
We are only 21 days away from our launch.  I know we will have challenges and fun.  Hopefully, at least for part of the time, we can float like origami on a mirror lake.
Thank you, Pyar.

Friday, February 03, 2012

February ~ The Self Portrait Attempt

Not Self Portrait Self
mixed media on paper
4" x 6"

A recent call for entries on Self Portraits was the catalyst for this piece.  I drew the figure in pencil and then painted in washes in watercolor.  I used my handmade stamps for embellishments and added the text from a book.   I originally wanted a python body after reading a story about pythons invading natural habitats in the everglades, but the coils began to look more like a scarf. (besides scales somehow feel creepy to draw)
Though the face does not resemble mine, I think there are some qualities illustrated that I possess .   And although I don't feel like an invasive species, I sometimes feel like I belong elsewhere.  I guess I am still struggling with my limbo and a sense of place. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

May the Cupcakes Unite

Cupcakes Unite (working sketch)
pencil in sketchbook

I imagined many cupcakes and looked at photos of ones online until, I caved.  I went to the Coop and bought cupcakes to study, and hopefully not eat.  I know that I work best when looking at my subject in its purest form, but I did not want to be tempted.  It all turned out fine, I have the finished painting below and Grandma  Voe had two cupcakes for her dessert. 

Cupcakes Unite
acrylic on cradled panel
6" x 6"

I am getting to know a special person in Ashland.  When we met the other day we talked about our individual health concerns and histories.  She confided that she had just had a double mastectomy and has plans to get her replacements during surgery tomorrow.  She termed her replacements as 'cupcakes' and we laughed and joked about other names we have used.  Her boldness made me feel loved, I knew she felt safe.  And thus, these cupcakes are for that friend.  I purposely painted them to coordinate and not be identical.  The most difficult thing for me to draw is the second eye and thus, I knew duplicating a cupcake centimeters from its partner was not a task I wanted to try to accomplish.   
So, the pair speak volumes about our own desires for that perfect match and that perfect set. 

Drawings of Trees

Portland Trees
pen in sketchbook

Pyar and I walked from our hotel on the river to my favorite breakfast restaurant, Zell's in Portland.  After an amazing breakfast with dear friends, we headed out for our friend's house further north.  We had a blast, the air was crisp and it felt like a new day, it being New Year's Day.  I felt invigorated and blessed.  We talked about houses we liked and didn't like and noticed some wonderful trees that managed to outgrow their cement surroundings.  A magical day, thank you, Pyar.  

Sunday, January 01, 2012

January 2012 Happy New Year (the year of the dragon)

Komodo Dragon Sketch
pencil in sketchbook

Drawing fantasy characters are challenging for me.  I have several other pages not in the post of attempts at drawing dragons; they are pensive, sloth like and nonchalant - none of which looked 'dragon' enough for my annual new year stamp.  So, my next choice was to draw the komodo dragon from a photograph on the web.  I think with the head tilt and the sway of the tail, he looks more dragon than anything I could conjure.  

Komodo Dragon, New Year 2012 
2" x 3"
handmade stamp on paper