Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New WIP - Tufted Titmouse Oil Painting

I started this little 8x10 oil over the holidays. This is a tufted titmouse. These cute little birds are frequent visitors to my feeder. This piece I am hoping to finish in time for the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, SC.


Latest Progress on the Cougar Cub Painting

Here's the latest progress on the cougar cub painting. I have not progressed very far, but I worked some more on his face and chest, and started work on his paws. With this painting, I've learned that I don't care for painting on the stretched linen canvas. I feel like I'm fighting its texture. I've decided that I prefer painting on the mounted linen panels instead. I like the solid feel and finer texture of it. I will be sitting this one aside for a little while to work on something new. See my next post.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Empire 100 - Mountain lion watercolor

I am happy to announce that my watercolor painting Seeking Shade has been selected for the Empire Ranch Foundation's Empire 100 Western Art Show & Sale. The Empire 100 is a juried exhibition and sale of one hundred exceptional original works in oil, watercolor, and bronze by nationally known painters and sculptors.

The sale supports the preservation of the Empire Ranch House, a 22-room adobe and wood frame building which dates to 1870 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The show runs January 12 through March 13 at Northern Trust, 3450 E. Sunrise, Tucson, Arizona. The Opening Reception will be held on Thursday, January 15 from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.

For more information, and to view and purchase art, visit or call 888-364-2829.

Seeking Shade, watercolor, 11x16

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New WIP - Cougar Cub Painting

Sorry it has been awhile since my last post. I have spent the last couple of months working on a freelance illustration project for a local park. It kept me so busy, that there was no time left for my painting.

This piece is a 12x16 oil on linen of a young cougar that I started some time ago. For one reason or another, I stopped working on it and sat it aside. I've renewed my interest in this piece and have decided to take it on again. I apologize for the glare on the photos, but you get the idea :)

Monday, November 24, 2008


Fellow artist and blogger, Carol Lambert informed me that I'd been 'tagged'. Thank you Carol for thinking of me. Carol is an Alaskan painter who paints still lifes and landscapes of her surroundings. Her blog is dedicated to her daily paintings. Someday Carol I will make my way to Alaska!

The rules for tagging are these:

1. Put a link in your posting about the artist that tagged you.
2. Write 5-7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 5-7 other bloggers and let them know.

Things that could possibly be considered unusual about me:

1. I REALLY enjoy time alone.
2. I'm not afraid of snakes or spiders. In fact, I find them fascinating.
3. I've never been camping...and here I paint nature and love being in the outdoors.
4. I'd prefer to dine at a diner rather than at a fancy restaurant. I'm a cheap date.
5. I do not find diamonds to be beautiful.
6. Getting dirty doesn't bother me...I purposely run through mud puddles on my mountain bike because it's fun.
7. I do not own a cell phone.

These are the artists I'm tagging. Please visit them, and I hope you find as much enjoyment as I do at their blogs.

Joni: My friend and fellow wildlife artist. She paints realistic wildlife in acrylic and oil. She is also a wonderful photographer which you will notice on her blog.

John: A very talented artist I admire who paints wildlife and portraits. His sketches/studies are incredible.

Carel: His meticulous paintings of obscure, lesser-known creatures are stunning.

Rachelle: She and her husband Wes paint beautiful exacting miniatures in watercolor.

Julie: She paints expressionistic, colorful subjects of the West - wildlife, horses, and rodeo. Her blog is entertaining and informative.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

American Art in Miniature Sale

Tonight is the reception and art sale at American Art in Miniature, the Gilcrease Museum's popular miniature show. Here is a link to view the entire show with prices. Any works not sold this evening will be available through the web site until November 16th. My work "Brown Eyed Girl" is included in the show.

Brown Eyed Girl, acrylic, 8 x 10 inches, SOLD

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vote for me!

The Baker Artists Awards celebrate Baltimore's artists on the Web with an ongoing exhibition of its diverse artistic practice, and the Mary Sawyer Baker Prize will establish Baltimore’s reputation as a creatively rich and vital place to live with a civic commitment to value its individual artists.Please take a minute to visit my work on the Baker Artist Awards web site. As a Baltimore artist, I am eligible to win the significant Mary Sawyers Baker Prize or maybe bragging rights as Baltimore’s Choice. Either way, please follow the link and vote for me... and, if you live in Baltimore, you could also Nominate your own work! Now GO sign-up and vote

Melati - Sumatran Tiger, watercolor, 7 x 11 inches

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back from AZ and new painting

I'm back from sunny and warm was in the mid 90's the whole time. I had a really fun time hanging out with my artist friends Joni and Sandra and I had an enjoyable workshop with Greg Beecham. We spent two days (one day before the workshop and one day after) at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. What a wonderful place for a wildlife artist to get reference. I especially enjoyed the raptor free flights. During this program, we got to watch a barn owl, a raven, a ferruginous hawk and a family of Harris hawks fly free over the open desert. It was a thrilling experience to see these powerful birds in flight up close. I got some great shots that I am anxious to paint, especially one in particular of a Harris hawk. Stay tuned!

I learned alot in Greg's workshop and I am excited to get to work on some new oil paintings. My in-class painting got off to a shaky start...I was worrying too much about details, falling back on my old habits...but with Greg's help, I decided to just let loose and have fun with it. It's different from my usual work, but I like it. Here is the end result. By the way, the painting is of my handsome Boxer boy, Max :) I'd love to hear your comments on this one...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beecham artist workshop

I'm leaving for Scottsdale, AZ this weekend to attend an artist workshop taught by one of my favorite wildlife artists, Greg Beecham. My friend, and fellow artist, Joni Johnson-Godsy will also be attending Greg's workshop. I am really looking forward to it. Greg is an accomplished oil painter whose work I greatly admire. His work is so if his subjects could just walk off the canvas. Yet, he accomplishes the illusion of detail with painterly, almost sculptural strokes. Oh, how I wish I could do that! I'm taking along a problem painting of mine that I started last year of a cougar cub. I was trying to be "painterly" with it but I just got discouraged and quit working on it. Ever since, it's been sitting in a corner of my studio facing the wall so I can't see it. From time to time, I pick it up and turn it around to look at it... I think to myself that it still has promise, but then I just put it back against the wall, not knowing what to do with it. I sure hope Greg can help me out with it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finished painting of Mufasa

I finished the pastel painting of Mufasa this weekend. Hope you like him! He measures in at 12 x 17.5 inches. I have not figured out what to title this piece yet. Any suggestions? I'm horrible at coming up with titles. Sometimes they are more challenging than the painting itself. I think after this piece, I'll put away the pastels for awhile. I've consumed enough dust for the time being! On to something else...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Latest work on Mufasa

Sorry it's been awhile since my last WIP post on Mufasa. He's still coming along. His tongue, nose, and mouth area are now completed. There's many hours worth of work in just his nose and tongue alone. Now that they are out of the way, I hope to finish soon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Art of Conservation - Opening Weekend

This past rainy weekend, I attended the opening of the Artists for Conservation (AFC) group's inaugural exhibition hosted by the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum. Many of the exhibiting artists, representing 7 countries, were in attendance.

The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ.

At the entrance to the Blauvelt.

On Friday, AFC sponsored a bus trip to the Bronx Zoo. I missed the trip because I was on the road to the show. I heard from several fellow artists that the zoo's snow leopards were particularly active which made me regret missing the trip, but there was no way I could have altered my travel plans. That evening, the artists were treated to a dessert buffet along with a private viewing of the show. This was followed by several interesting slide presentations given by members who participated in the AFC's flag expedition program.

Me standing by my piece Rare Beauty - Snow Leopard.

Saturday morning, was another optional bus trip to the Museum of Natural History in NYC for a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum's dioramas. Saturday evening, the museum hosted a dinner at the museum and we dined amidst the fabulous artwork. Awards were presented including several Awards of Excellence and Robert Bateman was present to receive his special honor, the Simon Combe's Award for Conservation.

Sunday afternoon, the show opened to the public and there was a large turnout with several sales. The show was a big success. Everyone was impressed with the thoughtful layout of the artwork, the quality of the art, and the accompanying hardbound catalog was beautifully done.

Following are some random images from the show...

On the "Art of Conservation" wall, from left to right - Dag Peterson's The Wilderness is Calling; Robert Bateman's Pelican Diving; David Kitler's Harpy Eagle - Portraits. In the foreground is Dale Weiler's marble sculpture Nowhere To Go.

Robert Bateman's work on loan for the exhibit, Rockface Descent - Leopard.

From left to right around the room: Oscar Famili's Curiosity and the Cat and Persian Onager's Winter Feast; Laura Mark-Finberg's Intensity (Young Tiger); Brian Jarvi's The Rising and my piece Rare Beauty - Snow Leopard. In the foreground left to right: Tucker Bailey's bronze Clouded Leopard and Karryl's MMM...Tasty.

The "Small Works" wall. Top row from left to right: Sue Adair's Hector; Melanie Fain's On the Brink; and Carel Brest van Kempen's Nosy Mangabe Panther Chameleon. Bottom row from left to right: Patricia Pepin's Walking Elephant; Diane Versteeg's Tobacco Hornworm Moth I; Kelly Dodge's Zippity Doo Dah; Deborah Crossman's Hyacinth Macaw; and Linda Rossin's Maritime Migrator.

Some minis on this wall. From left to right: Rachelle Siegrist's Beautiful Beast of Borneo and Mmmm...Love Your Perfume! ; Wes Siegrist's The Cycle of Life; and Linda Rossin's Silhouettes Along the Shore.

From left to right: Kelly Dodge's On Solid Rock We Stand and Lorna Hamilton's On the Edge. In the foreground is Jeff Whiting's bronze George River Peregrine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"The Art of Conservation - An International Exhibit of Nature in Art"

Tomorrow I am off to Oradell, NJ to participate in the celebratory opening events of "The Art of Conservation - An International Exhibit of Nature in Art" – a new annual international juried exhibit featuring the art of leading nature and wildlife artists from around the globe. The exhibition was created to celebrate artistic excellence in the depiction of nature, raise awareness of conservation issues, and directly support organizations dedicated to addressing them. The exhibition is being produced by the Artists for Conservation Foundation (AFC) – the world's leading artist collective dedicated to the environment. The show is being hosted by the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum– one of the world's premiere museums for nature and wildlife art – situated half an hour from New York City in Oradell, NJ. A share of the revenues resulting from the sale of artwork in the show will benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – one of the world's largest and most respected conservation organizations, based at the Bronx Zoo.

The exhibition features 112 original artworks selected by an independent jury and includes 96 paintings and 16 sculptures. Many of the exhibiting artists, including myself, will be present to meet collectors and media during a special invitation-only opening reception at the Blauvelt Museum on Sunday, September 28th between 2pm and 5pm. The exhibition will run at the Blauvelt Museum through December 21, 2008. Following this, approximately half of the artworks will be assembled for a tour through 2009.

My pastel painting, "Rare Beauty - Snow Leopard" was selected for the exhibition and is available for sale.

Rare Beauty - Snow Leopard, pastel on Amate bark paper, 23x15

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2nd Annual "Small Works - Big Impressions"

I am delighted that 2 of my owl paintings have been selected for the Society of Animal Artists "Small Works - Big Impressions" exhibition and sale at The Wildlife Experience in Parker, Colorado. This is an opportunity to purchase small, affordable works by the best artists currently working in the field of animal art. The exhibition opens November 15, 2008 and closes January 4, 2009.

Barred Owl, acrylic on panel, 4 x5

Great Horned Owl, acrylic on panel, 7 x 5

Friday, September 19, 2008

Latest work on Mufasa the lion

Here's the latest on Mufasa as of today. Since the last post, you can see that after I finished his eyes, I have been sort of working in a semicircular motion around the piece. This is to avoid smudging anything that's already been done. One has to be very careful working with pastel. I've been trying to keep this piece a tad looser than my normal work. I'm keeping the detail focused around the eyes, the nose, and mouth. Hope you are liking it so far! It's been a fun piece to work on. The real fun part is coming up...that tongue!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Start of new work - Mufasa the lion

Here's the start of a new work - a lion portrait in soft pastel. I'm painting it on a sand-colored Ampersand Pastelbord. It measures 12 x 17 1/2. I'm using a combination of Unison and Sennelier pastels along with Faber-Castell pastel pencils for the more detailed areas. This lion is named Mufasa; he is a Barbary lion. Mufasa lives at Animals of Montana. I have painted Mufasa before in this painting that I did a few years ago. I took so many wonderful reference photos of him...he is a most photogenic fellow with the awesomest mane. He is probably the most beautiful cat I've ever seen and for that reason alone I am inspired to paint him. I've been wanting to use the reference photo that you see clipped to the side of the painting for some time now. I think it's a great photo of him licking his chops. I attempted to paint this same piece in oil once several years ago, but it was a failed attempt. So, here's hoping that this one turns out to my liking!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Birds in Art 2008 - Opening Weekend

I had another wonderful time at this past weekend's Birds in Art opening festivities . The artwork was incredible. I got to meet and revisit so many wonderful artists including some that I've admired for many years. My two personal big artist influences were in attendance; Robert Bateman and Carl Brenders. It was a real treat to talk with them and see their work in person. My home state of Maryland had a strong showing of artists - a total of 8 were representing our fine state. The great Jim Morgan was honored with the coveted Master Artist award. I don't know him personally, but he seems like a humble, quiet man that just wants his work to speak for itself. I can certainly relate to that. His paintings were amazing in person. A true master.

Birds in Art will be on view at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum until November 9, 2008. Please check it out if you are near the Wausau, WI area or when the exhibition goes on its national tour. For more great photos from the show, check out fellow Maryland artist Terry Miller's blog.

Me and my painting at the private artists viewing.

My image and statement in the Birds in Art catalog.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Birds in Art

I'm off to Wausau, Wisconsin this evening to participate in this weekend's opening festivities for Birds in Art at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. I am very honored to once again be included in this highly regarded show that presents the very best artistic interpretations of birds. My watercolor painting "Break in the Ice - Hooded Mergansers" was selected for the exhibition. The show opens to the public Saturday September 6 and runs through November 9, 2008.
Break in the Ice - Hooded Mergansers, watercolor, 8x16

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Brown Eyed Girl"

This will be available for sale at American Art in Miniature 2008 at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK. The exhibition opens October 25 and hangs through November 9, 2008. The reception and sale event will be held on Thursday evening, November 6, 2008.

Brown Eyed Girl, acrylic, 8x10

Friday, August 22, 2008

Good news & today's work

I received notification today that my work has been selected for inclusion in the American Art in Miniature 2008 exhibition and sale at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I'm so delighted! This will mark my second appearance in this popular show (my first appearance was last year). So, I guess I best get finishing up this owl piece, since this is what I plan on sending to AAIM! I have to finish it by the September 26 deadline. Here's my latest progress... everything is blocked in and I'm just refining and adding details now. I'm in the homestretch.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Yesterday's work (barred owl)

I added more feather details to the right side of the owl and I loosely layed in the underlayer to my background on the right. This will eventually become darker.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Trinidad trip

Sorry to backtrack here a little bit... it takes me a while to collect my thoughts and write them down; but I thought I'd share my last adventure with you...

In 2007, I received the Don Eckelberry Scholarship Award from the Society of Animal Artists. The award is a 10-day all expenses paid trip to the Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad. Don Eckelberry was a renowned bird artist, naturalist, and longtime member of the SAA. Don helped establish the Asa Wright Nature Center. It was his hope that this award would inspire and provide valuable firsthand experience to young artists interested in tropical birds as subject matter. I was honored and appreciative to receive this award; it was a truly inspiring place and I can understand why Don loved it so.

My husband Jimmy and I traveled there in May of this year and it was an adventure! It was our first trip outside North America. I’ve never seen such beautiful birds! Some highlights were: blue- crowned motmots, channel billed toucans, golden-headed manakins, white-bearded manakins, scarlet ibis, orange winged parrots, sabre wing kites, gray hawks, white hawks, purple and green honeycreepers, and common potoo. It was a real treat for a bird lover such as me. I always had my camera in hand, not wanting to miss anything. I took tons of photos; so many that my shooting hand was cramped and achy by the end of the trip. Needless to say, I’ll have enough material to work from for many years to come.

View from the verandah.

Kelly and Jimmy

I awoke early every morning to the sounds of birds screeching and calling just outside our room. Fruits of different varieties and bread are laid out on platform feeders each morning luring the birds in from the rainforest allowing for close observation. It's not just birds who come here for a handout; agouti and large Tegu lizards snag scraps that fall to the ground. Hummingbird feeders are filled as well on the Center’s verandah, attracting hummers and honeycreepers to within mere inches of where you are sitting. I was able to get many close-up photos because the birds were engrossed in feeding and were used to people. One could spend their entire time just sitting on the verandah overlooking the beautiful Arima Valley and see multitudes of birds come and go without even stepping foot into the jungle. I miss that verandah.

Male green honeycreeper at feeder.

Tegu lizard looking for some scraps.

A female agouti scores some bread.

Copper-rumped hummingbird

After breakfast, we’d coat ourselves with insect repellent (to fend off the mosquitoes and chiggers) and we’d head off to the rainforest trails for the day. It was always hot and humid in the morning. We noticed that it seemed to be cooler in the afternoon which is not at all what we’re used to back home. The jungle was filled with the sounds of birds calling but one stood out like no other…the call of the bearded bellbird. They have the loudest call of any bird on the planet. Their call sounds like a hammer hitting an anvil over and over. They drove us mad looking for them. You would think that a good-sized bird with a bright white underside and the loudest call on the planet would be easy to spot, right? Not so. They stay high in the treetops so our necks were sore from craning our necks back to try and see these birds. We did finally spot them, but it took us several days of trying.

Tree in the rainforest.

The only photo I managed to get of a bearded bellbird.

Kelly and a forest giant.

The male white-bearded manakins were our favorite birds to observe. We enjoyed watching them romance the ladies in their lek, which is a courting area essentially. Up to two dozen males flit over the lek with its vertical saplings, audibly clicking their wings, sounding bug-like, as they jump back and forth. These little guys worked so hard and we rarely even saw a female come and take notice. I felt a little sorry for them.

Male white-bearded manakin

That's me; photographing the white-bearded manakins at their lek.

A short walk away from the white-bearded manakin’s lek was the golden-headed manakin’s lek. Their courting performance consists of sliding or “moonwalking” along a thin branch, again all to impress the ladies.

Male golden-headed manakins

By far the most beautiful bird there was the blue-crowned motmot. I became a little obsessed with getting a great photo of one after missing the opportunity of getting “the money shot”. My husband one evening had pointed to one posing beautifully on a low branch in perfect, glowing, early evening light…swinging its long tail from side to side…but by the time I got to where he was standing and tried to focus, the motmot had decided that he posed long enough and I missed that glorious shot. The image is burned in my head; I don’t believe I’ll forget that image of the one that got away. I’ll have to try my best to recapture that moment in paint someday with the photos I did manage to get of them.

Blue-crowned motmot

A special attraction at the Center is the Oilbird colony. Oilbirds, which are related to nightjars, are the only nocturnal fruit-eating bird in the world. At night, they forage for fruit. The name Oilbird comes from the young birds which become quite chubby, often 50% heavier than their parents. These fat nestlings were collected and rendered down for their oil by indigenous people, and early settlers. We joined a guided hike down to Dunston Cave where the birds roost during the day. Only a limited number of people are allowed in at the same time to limit the disturbance to them. They nest close together on the cave ledges and blend into their surroundings. I did not even try to get a photo of them; it was so dark.

Always while out on the trails, we kept our eyes open for the poisonous fir de lance snake. Fortunately, we did not see one out on the trails because it would have been impossible to see; they are so well camouflaged. They are brown with a diamondback pattern and resemble a rattlesnake. The jungle floor was full of roots resembling snakes so it was hard to concern yourself with seeing one. However, one day at the swimming hole on the property, we got a real good look at one. We saw one basking poolside from a few feet away. The snake was holding an older gentleman hostage in a corner of the pool; there was no way to get around the snake unless he got in the water and he wasn’t about to do that. He said another larger one had come down from the hill while he was in the pool and got in the water with him. Yikes! He quickly jumped out. The snake proceeded to swim out and over the dammed up portion of the pool. Then, along came the other snake – probably a female following her mate. She decided to stay awhile on the side of the pool. That’s when we arrived. Eventually, she got in the pool as well and followed her mate over the edge, freeing our poor friend. Deciding that the coast was clear, I cannot believe our crazy selves still decided to get in that pool.

The Clearwater pool.

A beautiful butterfly orchid.

Most evenings after dinner, we’d join one of the guides for a night walk. Armed with our flashlights, we’d walk along the Center’s paved drive looking for whatever creatures of the night we could spot. We usually saw tarantulas, frogs, land crabs, whip scorpions, and walking sticks. On one night, I was the only lucky one in the group to spot a ferruginous pygmy owl before it flew off.

We signed up for three guided field trips off the Center’s grounds. Several species of birds could only be seen on the field trips. We ventured to Caroni Swamp for our first trip where we saw many flocks of brilliantly red scarlet ibis fly across the sky to roost in the mangrove trees for the night. We saw our second snake here; a Cook’s tree boa curled in a tree directly above our heads. Though it was a beautiful spectacle to see the scarlet ibis, from a photography standpoint, I was a little disappointed that we were unable to see any birds up close. On our drive out to the swamp, we stopped at Trincity sewage treatment plant – I know kind of gross, but it was a great spot to see (and photograph) birds. Who knew? We spotted blue heron, great heron, yellow hooded blackbird, egrets, wattled jacana, purple gallinule, and a gray hawk. Basking on a bank there was the largest caiman I’d ever seen.

Purple gallinule

Our second outing was to view the endangered leatherback sea turtles nesting at Matura Bay. This can only be done at night. The beach here is lined with palms and very narrow, due to erosion. We walked with our guide up and down the beach scanning the ocean for any signs of turtles. It’s very dark so it’s hard to make out anything. Our guide told us to make sure that we shine no lights and to not use any flash photography. They rely on the glare off the water and the dark of the tree line to find their way to shore. Lights can confuse the turtles and will send them back to the ocean. Conditions have to be just right or the turtles will turnaround. We were not out too long before we saw one coming to shore. It takes awhile for these turtles to haul themselves out. In fact, the whole laborious ordeal takes several hours. Our turtle was about 5 feet in length. They can get up to 8 feet in length and can weigh between 500 to 2000 lbs. When she found her spot, she started to burrow a hole in the sand with her front and back flippers. She decides that her hole is deep enough when her back flippers can no longer touch the bottom. She then deposits her eggs. The turtle goes into a trance-like state while she lays her eggs. During this time only, we were allowed to take photos if we wanted. Her clutch consisted of about 80 to 100 eggs. After depositing all her eggs, she then covered them back up with sand, smoothing over the surface. She turned to leave for the sea but then started to dig again; our guide told us she was creating a decoy nest. This was done to trick any would-be predators. When she completed this, she finally headed back to the sea. It was a wonderful experience and I felt very privileged to witness this.

Our last trip took us up Blanchisseuse Road, where we had an unsuccessful outing on a rainy day looking for the elusive piping guan, ornate hawk-eagle (the bird I had most wanted to see on this trip), and the collared trogon. The trip wasn’t a total bust; we did get to see rufous-tailed jacamars which I was able to get very close to and I got some great shots. They ranked right up there with the blue-crowned motmot for beauty in my eyes. I am fairly certain that they will be my first painting from Trinidad.

Rufous-tailed jacamar

We had a wonderful time and would definitely like to return someday. Next time we’ll check out Tobago too. For now, I look forward to getting started on some paintings inspired from the trip. Stay tuned…some of these guys may be showing up in some future work...

Male violaceous trogon

Male silverbeak tanager


White-necked jacobin