Thursday, January 29, 2015

Long-eared Owl

This curious fellow is another from my "Endangered Species" series.

Long-eared owls are more nocturnal than any other North American owl species. When disturbed, he will raise his ear tufts, compress his feathers tightly against his body and freeze, mimicking tree bark or a broken limb. Should he decide to fly the coop, he will take off with his ear tufts flattened against his head. But of course I will never see this, as I will be fast asleep.

Oil on canvas, 40" x 30"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's Always Darkest Before

.....spring! I do think it's coming! I smelled it in the air when I opened the back door, and somewhere a bird sang a few notes. I know I shouldn't even declare such news, I'm sure to put a jinx on the whole affair. It's only mid-Janury after all. I'm off to the studio. Eventually I'll post some artwork, but for now my eyes are glued to the sky.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Reflections of a New Day

The theater of sunrise continues in my little backyard. Early this morning I opened the back door to let Suzi out, and I loved seeing the neighbor's house reflecting the sky, and the glowing green of the fence posts. What a great way to start my day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Frosty Sunrise

The holidays are over. Hallelujah! Let the New Year begin! I'm so ready for it. I'm not so ready for this dreadful cold winter, though. This morning's sunrise was a brief treat and a good way to start another cold morning. The temperature? Minus eleven, but with the windchill factor it feels like minus twenty-five degrees. That's a good 57 degrees below the freezing mark. Welcome to Minnesota. Come for the culture, stay and your car won't start.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Over the River and Through the Woods

Time to put up a tree with some lights! It's been so dreary and murky outside lately, I could use some sparkle! (I also could use a snappy little multicolored convertible).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Yard Work Days are So Over

It's time to put away your white gloves, high heels and pearls, yard work days are over.

This morning the thermometer outside my window read 8 degrees. Brrrrrrrrr! This isn't fair, we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet!

To console myself, as I put on my long johns to waddle to the hardware store, I said to no one in particular, "At least we don't have to worry about tornadoes for a while". It's not much of a consolation prize, but I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Art Attack 2014

"Art Attack", my studio building's annual fall sale, is this weekend. So forget the yard work, get on your bike and c'mon down! You'll see artwork in every imaginable form, over 250 artists in one building. Added perks include free parking, creative food truck dining, and various musicians performing for free in the building during the weekend event.

Hours are:

Friday Nov. 7 - 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday Nov. 8  - Noon to 8 p.m.
Sunday Nov. 9 - Noon to 5 p.m.

Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson Street NE
And don't forget to come see me in Studio 350!

For more information and schedule of events, check out the building's website:

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Scary Neighborhood

Be scared. Be very very scared.  Happy Halloween!

Mr. Pumpkin Head Lurks on the Terrace

a detail of Mr. Pumpkin Head

Apparently this ghoulish guy has a twin - here he is in another lawn!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall's Last Fling

I'm getting ahead of myself. I just posted an entry that announced my studio sale next weekend.  IT'S NOT NEXT WEEKEND! It's the following weekend, November 7, 8 and 9! I just removed that post. Sorry about that. What was I thinking? I'll post that announcement next week (again) but for now, I'll share a photo of my neighbor's tree, along with all the fallen leaves that will be keeping him busy with his rake! This weekend is for the trick-or-treaters. We've had such beautiful weather and great tree color, but it's fading fast.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dad's Sketches

I took a break today to do a bit of cleaning. I started to sort through Dad's sketchbooks, now stored in my basement. He was a prolific sketch artist. His favorite medium was water soluble pencils, and he loved to sit at the mall and sketch people as they went about their business or sat in the food court. He didn't limit himself to sketchbooks, but anything that was handy - napkins, scraps of paper, the back of an envelope. This little 5" x 7" sketch was typical of his style...loose and well, sketchy! I loved how he always seemed to capture the essence of his subject, even when they were unaware that they were being sketched.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pajama Weather

Now that the weather is chilling out, I thought about these flannel pajamas today, as they were quite cozy. I created these illustrations, as well as many more, for a pajama company years ago. Unfortunately they are no longer on the market, but as I recall, they were very cozy pajamas! Here's another one for the food lovers, with signature meals of countries worldwide:

As I recall, it was a thrill for me to sleep in my illustrations!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Birds and More Birds

Here's another pattern that I was commissioned to create by Sublime Stitching, the contemporary embroidery company I mentioned in my last posting. This assignment might have been simple for most artists, but for some reason, it gave me a real run for the money. I find birds to be a challenging subject matter. They are so streamlined and uncomplicated in shapes, and yet I wrestle with them as if I were drawing the blueprint of a submarine. You can view and/or purchase this pattern "Songbirds" on Sublime Stitching's website here.

Because I tend to always overcomplicate things, I am a big fan of the illustrator Charley Harper. His knack of simplifying his subject matter and rendering it with graphic boldness and often sweet humor is brilliant. Check out these great images, courtesy of

"Green Jay, 1956"

"Cardinal", 1960

"Red-eyed Vireo", 1959

"Eskimo Curlew", 1957

"Baltimore Oriole", 1959

"Water Turkey", 1958

I find it really amusing, as well as inspiring, to know that these simple designs and graphic clean lines came out of this chaotic makes me feel a whole lot better about my own messy studio!

Charley Harper

Friday, September 12, 2014

Housing Development

I mentioned a while back that I created some illustrations for a fabulous contemporary embroidery company, I think my favorite was the Atomic 50's ranch house...or maybe the fairy tale cottage, both sketches featured above. You can view and/or purchase the final pattern on Sublime's website here: HOUSES.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Black-Footed Ferret and Prairie Dog

Now here's a couple that are truly up a creek without a paddle. The black-footed ferret depends on the prairie dog as a food source and for their burrows for nesting, but the extinction of the prairie dog is having a toll on the ferret population by extension. In fact, as late as 1981, the black-footed ferret was considered extinct until a colony was discovered in Wyoming. Much of the demise of both species has been caused by a bacterial plague for which they have no immunity, and by ranchers who consider them competition for the grass that their livestock depend on.

Oil on wood panel, 30" x 40".

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Salt Marsh Harvest Mice

Another of my "Numbered Days" series of endangered creatures. These cute little fellers are found only in the San Francisco Bay area. They are very unusual in that they drink salt water and swim very well, floating on the tide looking for pickleweed plants to munch upon. Their days are numbered because housing developments continually drain or dyke the marshlands near the bay, eliminating their habitat. I'm not a huge fan of mice, but I'm rooting for them! 

Oil on wood panel, 30" x 36"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Roseate Spoonbill

Many years ago I created a series of oil paintings depicting endangered species. Each canvas had a surreal twist to it, usually involving numbers within the creature's natural environment, symbolizing the limited number of remaining species. I really enjoyed this series. This particular canvas depicts an endangered spoonbill found in Florida. Interesting, it was purchased by a Minnesotan who told me it is gracing the living room of his winter home in Florida.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Great Outdoors

Friends of mine are driving up north to the Boundary Waters this weekend to relax and camp out. You know, pitch a tent, hike and do all those outdoorsy things. It's all well and good if you're armed with a can of heavy-duty bug spray and bear repellent, but frankly, my idea of the great outdoors is sitting next to a tent more like these:

photo: London West Hollywood Hotel

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sweet Summer

What a glorious week of summer we have had! I am enjoying it because frankly, it's just a teeny blip on the radar of weather here in Minnesota - the rest of the year is winter. Summer is extraordinarily beautiful, and winter is extraordinarily awful, I just wish the ratio were 50:50. According to the pamphlet that I received from the city when I first moved here many years ago from sunny California, there are only two places on earth with weather extremes more severe than Minnesota: Siberia and Mongolia. I wish I had seen that pamphlet before I moved here. So far this summer I have finished a book project for Dover Publications (fun!), hired someone to shore up my crumbling garage foundation (expensive!), tripped on a curb while jogging with dog (a contusion - painful!) and enjoyed out of town guests (intoxicating!) Speaking of out of town guests, aren't these garden visitors beautiful? I planted a garden specifically for bees and butterflies since they need a little help from mankind, and it does seem to attract them all. My neighbors have milkweed plants in their yard, so next year I'm going to beg for some seeds, since milkweed is a staple source of food for butterflies.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Art-a-Whirl 2014


My studio building hallway. Photo: Dan Marshall

My studio building hallway
Music event during last year's Whirl
Northrup King Building - my home away from home

It's that time of year again - Art-a-Whirl, the nation's largest art crawl! Thank goodness the forecast is for good weather, which is a small miracle. Come visit me at the Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street NE, in Studio 350 - hope to see you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I've tried to whiten these sketchbook pages, but to no avail, so I'm posting them anyway. Believe me, they are white pages, not gray!

I'm working on illustrating a children's book about bugs, so I went to the library to see what I could find for references. Oh my gosh, I found more than I bargained for! I got distracted and spent an hour just reading about various bugs and their habits, it was fascinating! Then I did some sketches. It was a bit challenging for me since I'm squeamish about bugs, and yet I had to find a way to make them cute. I also wanted them to have a different look than what has already been done by Disney/Pixar studios. After a bit of tweaking and reworking, I got into the groove and had a lot of fun. I'll post the end results later on down the road.