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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Larger ( for me) Oil Paintings!

Sun Break    18" x 18" 

Foggy Pond at Greenbank Farm 18'x18"


Sketching and Painting

We will be doing 3 One Day sketching workshops again this year at the Cole Gallery in Edmonds, Wa
Check out the Cole website, we always have fun with this one!

Life is good, I am painting, sketching and traveling! The issue is, some things like my blog, can be neglected. It is spring on Whidbey Island and the plum trees on the way into Langley have been in full bloom! This view welcomed me every day last week on my way to Studio 106!

       Just yesterday it was fall and this is how the Olympic Mountains looked over Mutiny Bay.

The Whidbey Island Sketchers are often invited into amazing Island homes,thanks to our intrepid scheduler Sue!  Lovey Couture Design is one of them. Beautiful dresses are created in Brenda's home studio, of course filled with color like this wall of thread spools.

Undaunted by  sketchers balancing watercolor pans surrounding her, our gracious hostess 
continued working on her latest designs. Below, a commissioned ballgown and "Turquoise Tango!
What a satisfying place to be on a gray day!

Studio in Your Pocket! 
Watercolor Sketchbook Journaling
Three workshop dates to fit into your travel plans!
Saturday May 9  10:30-4:30
     Saturday June 27  10:30-4:30 
   Saturday Sept 12  10:30-4:30
Three dates to choose from for this one day workshop. If you have always wanted to sketch, this is the time!   Learn to capture the essence of a moment and enjoy the experience of drawing whether at the park or traveling the world. You’ll get the tips and tools you need for painting on the go!
There are no rules here! It may be a few quick lines or more developed color notes. Whether you are an experienced artist or a beginner, sketching is a great teacher, and always leaves you with a unique and valued personal record.
Location: The Cole Gallery in Edmonds
425-697-2787      Cost: $125

Monday, November 10, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I am delighted to be invited by longtime friend Marilyn Webberley, to join the Around the World Blog Hop. Marilyn has been an inspiration in her life and in her beautiful artwork as accomplished oil painter, master calligrapher and set designer. Thank you Marilyn.

                       "Chorus Line" Pastelon paper  7 x 17        From my archives.

These questions are timely for me right now as I step off into a new direction.

1. What am I working on?
A 24" x 24" sits on my easel right now, an enlargement from a 4" x 6" plein air landscape from last summer.
I have been  a longtime figure and still life painter working in pastels, with occasional plain air landscapes.  A door has opened and I have walked through into almost exclusively  landscape for a number of reasons.  I love the feel of oil paint in my brushes, (bigger brushes)  and the marks they make on canvas or paper, as well as the freedom in just exploring space, value and color!  I've been privileged to join a group of beach painters along with a  dynamic teacher for a week each of the last 2 years, attempting to paint what is essential in a constantly changing light, magical light. It is a challenging transition from my deeply ingrained habits , vastly exciting!

As my blog title indicates, I  have for years been a dedicated pen and watercolor sketcher, and now have a group of wonderful like minded friends who meet every week  and sketch life on Whidbey Island.          
We love to draw,  we enjoy each others company indoors or out, its a treasure in my life.
My husband and I just returned from 26 days exploring and sketching in Italy. I know as I look at these pages in years to come I will be taken right back into those delightful days! I teach sketch classes and am an advocate for  anyone with the slightest interest to find a personal way to add this to life.


                                    "Last Sun"  Oil on canvas 6 x 8

                         Returning from the beach with a vanload of wet paintings!
                                  Oil on sized 140 lb watercolor paper

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Visual artists share a common language and we each find our own way with it. Where I  find my strongest emotional involvement  is in color and color relationships. Presently I am working very hard to find  what is the necessary concept in each painting, and let go of what is not necessary. This will joyfully  take up the rest of my life.

                                   "Veiled Afternoon"Oil on canvas  12 x 12
                               From a Storm Watch visit to the Washington coast

3. Why do I create what I do?
Painting brings more satisfaction than most anything else I do.

4. How does my creating process work?
I love to start paintings! Its all about possibility as I work to get the canvas covered with the best
decisions possible. Then I get more constrained, what needs correcting? How much correcting? How will that affect everything else? How much can I let the script change in reacting to what I see?
I do spend time in pre planning. I look for not only color but value and shape.  My i pad has become a reference when we can't be outside. I can tweak and play with shapes from the photos and compare options as well as work with fleeting light tho it is never the same.

  Tagged names on their way!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


My husband an I just returned from nearly a month of exploring and sketching  in Italy. It was a magical time, each day filled with discoveries  as we wandered the beautiful countryside and hilltop towns. We both sketch, and it became like a treasure hunt as we collected images and memories in our sketchbooks. and wine.

 Our first week was in the home of friends in southern Tuscany with this view from the terrace, looking out over rolling hills and vineyards all the way to the Mediterranean! Memorable sunsets as we sipped local wine.

            Colorful windows and doorways, potted plants and charming little gardens everywhere.
Montemerano and Montalcino

 Gregorian chant filled the air during our visit to the Abbey of Sant'Antimo just south of
Montalcino. It is a beautiful Romanesque abbey near the Via Francigena, the ancient 
pilgrim route from Cantebury to Rome.

Waiting for lunch.

Porto Ercole

Marina Grande in Sorrento

180 degrees of Mediterranean blue from the rooftop of the Hotel Regina.
Mt Vesuvius with a cloud hat in the center.

The  view from our  kitchen window in Sorrento looking down at a portion of the old wall 
and the red rooftops. Church bells chimed on the hour.

This iconic grove of cyprus is just off the road near San Querico. They are a symbol of 
the Val D'Orico. As we sipped wine and sketched  a constant flow of cars pulled 
over to photograph.  

The colosseum in Rome.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sketching in Mexico!

Two weeks of playing, sketching and swimming, near Manzanillo, Mexico. Of course, some eating
and margaritas too. How to sketch such a beautiful light infused place, sometimes it was just drops of color.
                  I often woke up early to see the sun explode over the mountains and Santiago Bay.

                            Surrounded by water and ever changing light. Never the same twice!

Morning view from my bedroom patio. 

Bougainvillea of every color, play with color!

                                        Just above us, the pool and palapa of Casa Maya

 Beach day at El Oasis across the bay.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Studio in Your Pocket

We will be doing another one day on location sketch workshop  on June 21, at the Cole Gallery in Edmonds
Simplify your materials, simplify your subject and go for it!

Destination, Roslyn on the other side of the pass

Tent Sketching
                         Early morning,  Second Beach on the Washington  coast.

                                              From our tent at Lyons Ferry in the Palouse

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More Winter Sketching

 It is cold outside, but warm and full of people to sketch inside. Coffeeshops are always inviting. It's  a good time to play with new materials and surfaces. I recently got a Schminke 1/2 pan watercolor set, and tried it out on a new Crescent all media book. Its a good surface for ink!  Sketches on the right were with my Lamy pen and a waterbrush in a small pocket sketchbook.

                                                    Tucson coffeeshop.

The Brick, in Roslyn

Commons in Langley

And from a coffeeshop on Guemes Island looking across at Anacortes.


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!