Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finding Peace

Parkway Series #299   12 x 16   oil   sold

There is so much  Spiritual Energy found in Nature, Energy not only for strength and endurance but also for peace - finding peace outside and inside yourself.  My prayer with each painting is for the Spirit of the work to pervade the canvas and be translated to those who view it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Magic of the Moment, Otter Lake

Parkway Series #285   12 x 16  oil   Sold

The "magic" of the moment is what I desire to capture in my new paintings of 2011.  I am gong to slow down in order to spend more time photographing the mystery and magical light of special moments and I am relaxing a bit in the process of painting.  Without the fast pace of turning out a painting a day, I am convinced my paintings will be more successful in capturing the essence of truth and beauty - a transcendental experience for me as the artist and I hope for the viewer as well.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blessings of 2010

Parkway Series #80 (remake)   11 x 14   oil   $125.

As 2010 comes to a close and I watch the snowflakes fall, I reflect on a year of incredible blessings.  My Parkway project was a wonderful success in many ways and I was able to juggle my career and keeping two grandchildren - two full time jobs at the same time!  My babies are learning and growing just as I am learning and growing;  that is what life is all about.  New adventures, new experiences, new challenges and new growth whether at 60 or at 6 months brings life and joy to all of us.  My desire is that 2011 will be more of the same.  Thanks so much to all my blog followers for your interest in my work and my life.  I intend to keep on traveling in Parkway in search of the perfect painting in 2011;  I still have many miles to cover.  Have a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year and stay in touch.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Freedom to Choose, remake

Parkway Series #250    12 x 16   oil   Sold

Bolder colors, more value contrast and better shapes improved this painting posted on September 3rd.  My make-over edition is so fun and relaxing and therapeutic!  I really enjoyed painting all day yesterday as the snow fell and I was house bound.  This painting entitled "Freedom to Choose"  is not only significant for my subject matter but also my occupation.  Can you imagine a better job than one where you can sit under the trees and paint or by the fire in your own studio and paint all day!!! I am so thankful for the blessings I have received from the Lord.  Just as I have chosen truth, goodness and beauty, I also chose Him as my Savior and my Provider.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rakes Mill Waterfall

Parkway Series #97   11 x 14    oil    $125.

Posted on January 26, this painting needed further work.  A bit more push and pull with color and value improved this painting.  I still have a handful of paintings chosen from my portfolio to continue working on.  Then, after Christmas, I plan to begin new paintings from photographs taken over the last year.  However, this period of reflection and reconstruction of my work is very relaxing and fun and I believe beneficial to my growth as an artist. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Remake, Raven's Roost II

Parkway Series #274   12 x 16   oil    $sold

On October 25, this painting of Raven's Roost was posted;  it looks a bit different now after repainting the rocks and adding the pines on the right side and touching up a few other places.  My yearly stint of "a painting a day" got me into a mode of fast painting that I had trouble getting out of.  Even though I was not painting as much, it took me two months to slow down the actual painting process.  Some paintings really do succeed at that fast pace, others do not.  In the original Raven's Roost II, I relied on generic rocks to speed up the process.  In this makover, I took my time and tried to capture the essence of the real topography of the area.  Balancing  darker values with the evergreen trees on the right also helped the compostion.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Roanoke River Overlook #2

Parkway Series #25    12 x 16   oil   $125

Back on October 8 2009, I posted this painting, leaving most of it as a value study.  The blue and purple underpainting was left as a finished piece, however, as much as I experimented with abstraction, my need to paint correct value and color always prevailed.  So I went back and finished this one and I feel it is much more successful.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rakes Mill Pond, Take Two

Parkway Series #253   12 x 16   Sold

Another remake shows more color and luminosity than the original painting posted on September 8th.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Remake #109

Parkway Series #109    11 x 14    oil    $125.

On February 11, I posted a very "anemic" rendition of this painting entitled "Roanoke River Tributary".  I was drawn to the image because of the diagonal compostion and color.  But the blue and orange contrasting colors were not effective in the original so I intensified the orange in the forground and added snow to make the contrast more effective.  The bottom horizontal log helps eye direction to remain in the painting instead of going off at the bottom right.  It is fun and very interesting to continue my self imposed critique.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Parkway Series #286   11  x 14    oil    Sold

 Out of the 260 paintings I did last year, only a few were rejects; I posted all but five paintings: this was one of the five that was never posted.  This painting is a dramatic remake of the original.  The original had no hay bale and no sky holes; in fact it had no focal point and I'm not sure why I chose a group of trees with a partial view of the parkway through them.  I did have great fun remaking this;  I really enjoyed the creativity of playing around with composition and ideas and I am proving to myself that the year of daily painting was incredibly beneficial in getting me to the point where I can improvise and compose without "written music"!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Insights into Mill Mountain

Parkway Series #282   12 x 16   oil     Sold

This is an improved paint-over of #282 posted on Nov. 9th.  Aggregate shapes again improved the composition of a "sea of orange".  After a year of daily painting and pushing myself to produce quickly, I am finally slowing down enough to critique my work and turn out better quality paintings.  I am excited about going to the gallery this week and hanging a quality show of new paintings from the WVTF exhibit.  I am going to bring home many of the earlier paintings to repaint in the hopes of improving them.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Aggregate Shapes

Parkway Series #300    12 x 16    oil    SOLD

Even though this painting was started before the workshop, it was never finished enough to post online.  I finished it last night and while working on it, I kept thinking about Ron Boehmer's encouragement to group the shapes as much as possible.  Thinking about aggregate shapes while painting a mass of orange trees that are all the same color is extremely helpful,  Even though the "main characters" are not as obvious in this painting as in others, the shapes work much better now than they did before.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Parkway Series #280    12 x 16    oil    sold

On Nov. 3, I posted this painting.  After the workshop critique, I came home and added more "luminosity" to  the shadowed areas of this painting.  I know about working within shadows and light areas to create reflected light but because of my fast pace regimen, I was sometimes overlooking small but very important issues.  Over the next few weeks, I plan to redo some of the paintings I feel could be more successful.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Workshop Critique

Parkway Series #277   12 x 16   oil    SOLD
The painting workshop and the holidays have been a refreshing time of rest and reflection; I plan to slow down even more during the Christmas season.  However, I will be thinking about all the new ideas from the workshop and how I can work them into new paintings.  For example, this painting bothered me for a reason I could not explain.  During the workshop, Ron Boehmer talked about having main characters in your paintings just like a book.  Just by adding more thickness to the tree trunks, I created three main groups of trees/characters rather than the mass of foliage that you can see in the previous photo of this painting (#277) posted on October 28th.  Something as simple as this can improve a painting.  I'll share more tomorrow!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Early Morning Mist

Parkway Series #284   12 x 16    oil     Sold

I caught this image of early morning mist with my zoom lens one morning last week around 7 a.m. The mist rising from the frosty morning and the sunlight hitting the tops of the trees was intriguing to me.  I wanted to try to capture the effect in paint.  On this beautiful day, I am headed to the Parkway again to record the last of the fall colors of 2010.  I will continue to paint these incredible colors well into winter but I do plan to take a few days off.  I have a show at WVTF on Friday night Nov. 19th 5-7.  Please come if you are anywhere near Roanoke Va.  Then I will be leaving for a few days on Saturday morning for a plein air workshop with Ron Boehmer in Lexington, and of course, lots of family fun the following week of Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful this year for a completed year of daily painting and for my incredible family who has given me the freedom to accomplish this and for my God who has given me the abilities that I have!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Down the Path by Otter Creek

Parkway Series # 283   12 x 16   oil    SOLD

As I walked down the path beside Otter Creek, on this crisp, beautiful day, the incrediblely blue sky reflected in the water.  Even though clouds covered the blue above the trees, the reflection captures the deep azure of October skies.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mill Mountain

Parkway Series #282    12 x 16   oil    SOLD

This is a view of Mill Mountain from the Explore Park spur.  The contrasting blue and yellow-oranges were spectacular this fall.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Essence of Impressionism

Parkway Series #281    12 x 1 6   oil    Sold

The pure, clear colors of this scene attracked me to the image.  There was very little mixing of colors and the background shapes went on easily.  With a little detail, done in my usual upside down painting style the painting was completed in less than two hours. I love it when a painting comes together so quickly.  That is the essence of impressionism!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yellow Trees

Parkway Series #280   12 x 16    oil    sold

The graceful sway of this tree by the water and the golden yellow leaves persuaded me to paint this scene.  It seems that this fall has produced more yellow than red.  The leaf colors are a bit more muted than last fall but the yellows have been fantastic.  I have several more yellow trees to paint.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Missing Milepost

Parkway Series #279   12 x 16   oil    Sold

Now that the cold weather has set in, I am painting from the studio most of the time.  The 500+ photos from late summer and fall will be my inspiration for the next few weeks!!!  I do not know the name of this overlook;  the sign was missing.   And I failed to get the milepost, which I will look for next time I'm on the Parkway.  But this overlook is breathtaking!  The panorama is 180 degrees and  hard to capture in a painting!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Drama of Light

Parkway Series #278   12 x 16    oil     Sold

I am continually searching for the drama of light.  Late afternoon, between 4 and 6, the light is incredible on the Parkway.  Whether peaking through the trees or highlighting the tops of trees or setting over the mountains, the sun light is a new drama each evening.  It never stops to amaze me how the Light changes everything and "makes all things new"!   What an incredible lesson from above!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Incredible Color

Parkway Series #277  12 x 16   oil    SOLD

When I rounded the bend, somewhere near milepost 90, on my way home from Otter Lake this incredible view came into sight.  The color was magnificent and this image captured just about every color in the book!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Location, Otter Lake II

Parkway Series # 276   12 x 16    oil    Sold

The extreme peacefulness of the hot sun, fall breeze and sound of water falling over the dam fills my soul when I reflect on this day of painting by the lake.  Even though the Parkway is crowded with tourists this time of year, there is still the "peace that passes understanding" that envelops me as I become immersed in the light and shadow of the painted image

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On Location, Otter Lake

Parkway Series #275  12 x 1 6   oil    Sold

This painting was done on location at Otter Lake.  I brought it back into the studio to tweak it a bit and never decided if it was really finished or not.  Many times, I just have to stop working on a painting and sit it aside for awhile, then return to it  a few weeks later to determine if there is anything else to improve.  Daily painting forces me to move on and not analyze too much!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ravens Roost II

Parkway Series #274    12 x 16    oil    Sold

This painting is the second in a series of paintings from Raven's Roost which is on the northern section of the Virginia Parkway near Verona.  However, I traveled  over 100 miles of the Parkway this weekend taking photos of the fabulous vistas from mp 217  (Cumberland Gap) back into Roanoke. It is very hard to paint in the studio when the weather is perfect and the color is near the peak of the season!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Magnificent Pageantry

Parkway Series #273  12 x 16   oil   Sold

Late afternoon sun provides such a richness to the colors of fall.  The drama of light and color unfolded in magnificent pageantry as an audience of one captured this panoramic view near Chimney Rock Overlook.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Parkway Series # 272  12 x 16  oil   Sold

To experience wonder is to experience human life and human purpose.  No other creature on earth can appreciate a sunset or sunrise except the human being.  In this way, our uniqueness sets us apart from other living things as having the ability to give thanks, to worship, to marvel at Creation and its Beauty. 
                  "The earth is the Lord's and all it's fullness..."    Psalms 24:1

Monday, October 18, 2010

Out Till Sundown

Parkway Series #271   12 x 16   oil    Sold

I really enjoyed painting at Otter Lake yesterday.  What an incredible day to be outside!  John Muir said, "I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."  Liza Field brought this quote to my attention and I found this to be my sentiment yesterday as well.  Being outside really helps me to understand who I am inside.  When I am outside, I am connected to something so much bigger than myself  and I experience a love for nature and for God in a very deep "spirit of reverance and sacred awe".

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Afternoon Matinee

Parkway Series #270   12 x 16    oil    SOLD

The Quarry Overlook in late afternoon has such a feel of peacefulness.  I love to sit under the trees and breathe deeply.  The early fall air is clean and warm but not muggy.  The lack of humidity allows for better views of the valley and the sounds of nature provide the symphonic sound tract to the ultimate "imax"!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Raven's Roost

Parkway Series #269   12 x 16   oil   Sold

I really enjoyed my trip north to milepost 0.  My series is now including the northernmost part of the Parkway and I have many inspirational photos of this section of the road.  Raven's Roost is definitely one of my favorite spots.  A fellow artist who is also posting her work ( and has done this same scene (June 11) bought this painting.  The highest compliment comes from other artists who admire my work!  Thanks, Pam.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bluff Mountain Tunnel

Parkway Series #268   12 x 16    Sold

North Carolina has their share of tunnels but Virginia has only one.  Around milespost 53, nine miles north of the James River bridge, Virginia's tunnel sits angled into the mountainside.  In the afternoon, shadows envelop it quickly but in the morning the sun hits the southern side for a perfect photo.  This painting was done in the studio after driving an inspirational 120 miles.  Last weekend I drove 250!  I am, at last, having time to explore the farther reaches of this magical road.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sunlit Contours

Parkway Series #267  12 x 16   oil   Sold

Around milepost #45 the parkway runs along a narrow ridge and the view of the eastern and western sides of the Blue Ridge is spectacular.  This view is looking west as the sun is just beginning to set behind the mountains.  Deep thalo blue shadows envelop the land as the higher contours pick up just the last remaining bits of sunlight.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reflections in the James

Parkway Series #266   12 x 16   oil   sold

From the Parkway bridge that crosses the James River, the reflections of the north bank captured my attention.  The driftwood and amber relections in the water were stunning in the morning light.  Hopefully, I can fit in another  few days this fall to paint on location!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Timeless Moments

Parkway Series # 265   12  x 16   oil    Sold

Around milepost 63, the James River passes under the Parkway.  Last Saturday, I and some artist friends enjoyed the day painting from the bridge.  I am looking forward to more plein air painting as the leaves continue to turn.  We had so much fun!  And the best part is that time does not exist when I am caught up in  moments of beauty like this!

Monday, October 4, 2010

En Plein Air IV

Parkway Series # 264    11 x 14   oil     Sold

I finished two paintings on Saturday and two paintings on Sunday at the Peaks.  This is the last of the weekend paintings, and my favorite.  Trying to narrow down the subject in the open landscape is really hard.  Looking through my camera lens helps me to compose a bit before beginning the painting.

En Plein Air III

Parkway Series #263   12 x 16    oil     Sold
This is another painting from the weekend, "Art Fest" at the Peaks.  This gentleman was delighted to pose for me;  his red jacket matched the color in the tree and I could not resist the combination of fall colors.

Friday, October 1, 2010

En Plein Air II

Parkway Series #262   12 x 16   oil    Sold

On September 18th and 19th, the Blue Ridge Plein Air Painters met at the Peaks to paint.  I enjoyed great conversation and meeting new artists and the weather was fabulous!  The next few postings will be paintings done on location at the Peaks on this gorgeous weekend.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

En Plein Air

Parkway Series #261   12 x 16  oil    Sold

Even though I have "technically" finished my series of 5 paintings a week for 52 weeks.  I have decided that I will continue painting the Parkway until I feel the series is really finished.  I have covered the Parkway from milepost 78 to milepost 178; but there is still a lot of road to cover.  I may not post every day but I am setting goals to keep me reaching for bigger and better paintings.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Down the Road

Parkway Series #260   12 x 16   oil   Sold

52 weeks a year times 5 days a week equals 260!!!  This is the "adieu", "finale", last of my "official" one year daily paintings!  I  am going to take two weeks off and then keep on keeping on!  The fall colors cannot be ignored and they are coming fast.  I will be taking photos as much as I can but I do need a break from daily  painting.  Certainly expect new posts by Oct 1st. if not before then.  Looking forward to continuing the journey "down the road" with you in new directions but my heart will always be on the Parkway! I'll be at the Peaks this weekend for Art Fest.  Please join me if you are in the area!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First of the Fall Colors

Parkway Series #259   12 x 16   oil    SOLD

This group of yellow trees was lit up by the late afternoon sun.  Yellow is the first of the fall colors to appear and it seems to me to be a color of excitement and anticipation of the glorious reds that are to come.
 Looking for more colors this weekend at Art Fest, I will be painting at the Peaks of Otter on Saturday and Sunday by the lake.  If anyone would like to join me, bring your paints;  in the great outdoors, there's room for all!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Son-lit Trees

Parkway Series #258   12 x 16    oil    $95.

In this fast paced, modern world we very seldom slow down enough to enjoy a group of sunlit trees.  Even on the Parkway, motorists speed past such sights on their way to who knows where.  But we can summon in our mind's eye the memory of blue skies and yellow trees and purple shadows - not a bad image to reflect on when life starts closing in.  The connection with nature is healing and as an artist, I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing a sense of beauty and awe of our Parkway landscapes to all those who have followed this journey over the past year.  My time on the Parkway has been physically, and emotionally and spiritually rejuvenating; when I am painting, time stands still and I soak in the healing power of the Artist who  so graciously gave us His Masterpiece of Creation to live in.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On Painting Nature

Parkway Series # 257     12 x 16     oil     $95.

The editor of American Artist magazine (Oct. 2010) quoted Thoreau, "In the wilderness is the preservation of the world."  I agree wholeheartedly, and I also agree with his next assertion that "there is, indeed, a sense of the divine in the landscape.  There is healing power in a sustained connection to nature.....and art can call us to become good stewards" of our earthly home  -  powerful statements, and a great issue on "Painting Nature". 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Walking Beside Me

Parkway Series #256   12 x 16    oil    SOLD

While in Galax last weekend for the 75th anniversary of the Parkway, I met Tim Pegram, the retired park ranger who wrote The Blue Ridge Parkway by Foot, an incredible book about his adventures backpacking  the 469 mile trek.  So much of his writings express my views of the beauty and mystery of this road.  "Not too far into the day, an emboldened sun, filtered by the morning fog, began to warm the day and intensify the colors of autumn.... In the struggle between fog and light, the Maker of it all seemed to place his hand on my shoulder and walk beside me."  I love this quote from his book;  so many times I have felt the same sensation of God walking beside me.  Thanks Tim for a great read!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back at the Lake

Parkway Series # 255  12 x 16   oil   Sold

I painted the lake at the Peaks several days this week, but even though I am posting the lake today I was actually in Galax. After a presentation to the community, talking about my new exhibit at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, I had the wonderful privilege of meeting the school staff, parkway officials,and art lovers in the community.  Thanks to all for the enouragement and hospitality!  And Happy 75th Birthday to the Parkway;  this is the big weekend celebration in Galax, the Blue Ridge Music Center  and the surrounding area.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Song of the Lake

Parkway Series #254   12 x 16   oil   Sold

Often, I tell people that art and music are similar.  Musicians must practice every day like artists to be proficient at their craft.  Just like a musician practices the same song many times in order to get it right, I  am practicing the same scene to get it right.  This is another painting of a very familiar location, Abbott Lake;  I am fascinated with the color of the water and the abstract patterns on the water and the distant colors of the foliage on the mountain.  This "song" keeps drawing me back over and over.  I have a connection, emotional and spiritual, with this "song" that will not let me go, so I continue to "sing"!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

End of the Season

Parkway Series # 253   12 x 16   oil    sold

With the end of each season, I tend to get a bit bored with taking new photographs.  For now, I am going through old photos and looking for new ideas.  When the leaves begin to turn, I will on the Parkway everyday!  But the paintings I am posting this week are ideas from the past resurfacing.  This is a reflection from Rakes Mill Pond just south of Mabrys Mill.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Road to Learning

Parkway Series #252    12 x 16     oil    Sold
Parkway subject matter is wonderful, however it is secondary to technique and style.  The main reasoning behind my project of daily painting was to improve my skills as a landscape painter.  I do feel successful in that I am settling into a style of impressionism that seems to convey my desires of visual communication.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Purple Tassels

Parkway Series # 251   12 x 16   oil   Sold

Along the Parkway in open fields, there are tall grasses that are adorned with purple tassels.  Looking out over the fields, my eyes feast on the purple waves of grass blowing in the wind.  This phenomenon occurs only in late August and early September.  I needed to capture the moment now because it will soon be gone.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Freedom to Choose

Parkway Series #250   12 x 16   oil   sold

Even though sin, evil and ugliness exists side by side with truth, goodness and beauty, I intend on dwelling in the truthful, goodly and beautiful realm of this world.  We have the freedom to choose where we live and the Parkway is my metaphor for this choice.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jumping Ahead

Parkway Series # 249    12 x 16  oil    Sold

Exaggerating the pinkish browns of the dog days of Summer, I have jumped ahead of the season a bit.  The drought of the Summer and its resultant color has given me the perfect opportunity to imagine those beautiful shades of brown and red that I love.