My sketchbooks are a place of pure play for me. Sketching is a way to experience where I am, a way of relating to where I live, what I’m doing, and where I’m going. With a sketchbook available, I always have entertainment – sketching people while waiting in line at Costco or the back of a pickup truck when stuck in traffic.

My sketchbox has traveled to Japan, Central America and Europe, and I can look at these and I’m immediately drawn back to what it was like to be there. I can remember exactly what was going on around me, even though it was years ago.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Plein Air Oil Sketches

These are some of the 50 little color studies painted with Simon Kogan on Long Beach Peninsula the first week of September. Powerful teacher, gracious hostess, inspiring comaraderie. Value and Temperature, trying to paint  what we were seeing as it constantly changed..  What is necessary, what is not?  This is the heart of my biggest challenge as a painter.

                                   Now, back to Studio 106! Excited to get back to work!

Elegant late light
Before the dark and the tide took over.

Early morning light on Willapa Bay

And late light on the beach.

The South Whidbey Open Studio Tour August  24 and 25.  
              Phyllis and I were interviwed for the Whidbey Record as we
 framed in preparation. Thank you Celeste!

My wall at Studio 106
Lots of interesting conversations,   cleaned up the studio 
and sold some paintings!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Farm and Garden Sketching

One of my favorite places here is the Cultus Bay Nursery, tucked back into the
trees on South Whidbey. Described as "A Whiff of England"
in a NYT article a few years ago. 
It is charming and beautiful and so inviting!
 This is one of our planned stops on the Whidbey Sketching Weekend.

Tree frogs were chirping and hummingbirds flew about
even in late August.

More Whidbey on September 21 and 22 at Quail Run Farm on the
annual farm tour.

A grand old red rooster!

This is a little oil sketch of our kyaks that sold
this last weekend on our Studio Tour!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Whidbey Farms

                     I love sketching the late summer reds and golds of the Greenbank Farm hills.
                              There are acres of winding trails through grasslands and woods.

Just a little farther on Northbluff Road is Pronkin Pastures Alpaca Farm.
Curious, friendly, gentle, we sketched for several hours while they grazed and 
napped all around us. 

                                One rescued llama resident  acts as a watchdog and protector.
                                She reminded me of a dignified Daumier caricature!
We will be sketching some of these  and other great places during The WIFAS September 
13-15 Sketching Whidbey Workshop!
               The following weekend is the Whidbey Farm Tour

Quick afternoon and evening color notes from our Mutiny Bay Beach.
                                      No where else I would rather be right now.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Plein Air

 Studio 106 says "Out Painting!"  We have had an amazing summer here so inviting to be outside!   
                                        Beautiful afternoon near Coupeville Ferry with my
                                         new Coulter paint box. Love it!

Low tide on Mutiny Bay point.

From a June trip with friends to Glacier Park. Painted Tepee Mountain.
                          It is a challenge to select a subject in the midst of the majesty everywhere,
                          as well as  staying anchored in the wind, and not be distracted by the big horn
                          sheep passing behind us.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


This last week the Whidbey Island Sketchers were invited to visit  another of Whidbey's amazing surprises, an exotic bird aviary.  Color spots in motion with tons of personality! Trying to sketch these moving brilliant birds as they checked us out..was   challenging ..... and enteraining!
The Hyacinth Macaw is the largest of all parrots, and for real, ultramarine blue and violet! 

These two were the most curious. The Blue Throat Macaw went to toes and shoes and looked over shoulders. The brilliant little sun conures, probably the most playful, climbed all over us.  Their voices were not so delicate, but what incredible color, especially when in the sun! Appropriate name.

Brutus with the orange plumes didn't let us forget he was there.
Another favorite was the Greater Sulpher Crested Cockatoo. His neighbor kept saying..
"whatcha doin? whatcha doin?"

Thank you to the Cole Gallery in Edmonds for filling another workshop yesterday with a great group of people for "Sketching Anywhere" watercolor and ink journaling.  Edmonds in bloom was at its best. Also,what a great farmer's market!

Next on the schedule is "Landscape Sketching" September 13-15 with the Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio on Whidbey Island. This will be our second year visiting and sketching some of Whidbey's great places. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Island Summer

 Summer is so beautiful in the Northwest, and it goes by so quickly.  Here is a quick post....!

A friend's garden near where we live. I was using my new Kuretake sable brush pen with the usual Lamy. Much experimenting ahead with this new tool!

Early morning on a San Juan Island family camping trip looking west toward Victoria, BC.
On the left is my sketch of the morning light, on the right, a cooperative by my grandsons age 2 and 4. 
All on their own....sharing my sketchbox. I will restock the ultamarine blue.  Excitement and freedom of color! I like theirs best!

      San Juan summer hayfield.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More Spring, Near and Far

Frogwell Gardens  is a private magical oasis on south Whidbey. 
                            Frogwell combines English design with Northwest glory, towering 
rhododendron to walk under, peonies, viburnum, 
iris, roses, everything in its season. Music and wine too. 
Then....the sun came out on this trio of trees.

                                                 The wisteria was in soft cool light.

From a recent Texas trip to visit family.
         Il Porcellino  surrounded by flowers in Rice Village, Houston, Texas.  It is one of 
                several copies from a 17th century Italian sculptor. Originally, coins were placed in his mouth, this one is a fountain.

Another version in my grandchildren's playroom.

One evening I walked a few blocks to the canal that flows through the residential area of  Braeswood in Houston.  That night and the next morning we had wild crazy thunderstorms with blue-black skies and torrents of rain. The canal quickly became a full sized river!
                                                              Path along the canal.  


Saturday, April 27, 2013

More Spring on Whidbey and Coming Events!

 I have been out and about with my sketchbook this week, yesterday at a friend's house in Central Whidbey. I couldn't get past this great old rocker on the front porch, framed by the rhododendrons.
One of the best things about our spring!

And Other Events!
A Matter of Taste  opening this coming Saturday at the Brackenwood Gallery in Langley.
A good reason to visit Whidbey!

  On June 8, I will be teaching a one day "Sketching Everywhere" workshop at the Cole Gallery
              in Edmonds, Wa. We will be out and about sketching some beautiful sights!
                                              Check it out!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blooming Rhodies

I went out with my sketchbook yesterday on possibly the most beautiful day yet this year 
and found Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens are coming into peak bloom!
This was done from the parking lot...with an acrobatic hummingbird as company.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back to Pastels! Fruits and Vegetables for "A Matter of Taste"

 Getting back into pastels was fun and satisfying after being away form them for a couple of years.
Like playing with a box of jewels.... These were done on Canson La Carte salmon colored paper, my favorite surface.
These new pieces will be in the Brackenwood Gallery's May show,  "A Matter of Taste"

    Chorus Line                                    

Watermelon Party



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunshine, Color and a Sketchbook!

My sketchbook just travelled with me to a magical place on the west coast of Mexico! 
 Thank you Phyllis, Bill and Susie for sharing your amazing Casa, and Kate for your friendship!

In these sketches I tried to describe a little of what  it felt like to be  there.

 I know whenever I look at them, I will go back to the sun 
and color and ocean breezes, the friendships and food and total
contentment.  The sketch of the fan palm and  cushions looked like
a royal throne and was a must do the first morning!

               The wall in the front opens completely, and this is the view from the living room sofa!
               My days began with morning coffee sitting outside .....

Bougainvillea of every color surround the house and the neighborhood! This is
  a small corner of the pool.

Next to the fan palm.....

Sweet mini bananas and papaya for breakfast, outside of course.

Two of the collection of interesting masks under Casa Maya's palapa.

A Day
The house was planned around the path of the sun.  Golden light would explode over  
Santiago Bay to the east in the morning. The second sketch is from a little later in the morning
 looking south (and is from an earlier visit...)  

Afternoon looking south, and evening to the west. 
 We watched a young whale frolic here one day. 
Glorious panoramas all day long!

                                                    Color everywhere, a neighbor's house
                                                    and the view from our bedroom patio.
The little voice to say "Stop, you're done!" wasn't awake yet......

                           I walked down one afternoon and did this quick sketch from L'Recif
just below our casa. it's a wonderful  memory!
Another whale was leaping out of the water, many come here to
give birth.

                                           This is really what it felt like to be there.