Monday, March 31, 2014


I think it might actually be SPRING in Wisconsin!  That has me thinking about gardens, grass, and leaves on the trees . . . all three of which would be a welcome sight around here.  I've gotten away a few times this winter and it STILL seems like it's been an exceptionally long winter.

Spring makes me think of my mom and how she always welcomed it with open arms.  Winters are hard on the elderly and she was no exception.  While I was painting this journal page, I was thinking about her and the fond memories I have of going to England together.  She loved that country so much - and would often tell me how she would be open to moving to some cobbled little village and living there for two or three months . . . all by herself!  Oh, how I miss that amazing lady!

 Yesterday, I enjoyed a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum with a good friend.  It was the last day of, "ART IN BLOOM", featuring beautiful flower stands, flower art, and everything that related to spring, all set amongst the paintings in the museum.  Such a fun day - thank you Gwen! 

We're going for a high of 62 today!  That will feel incredible and I plan on poking around my gardens looking for signs of life.  

This quote says it all.

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."  -Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Check out my Etsy shop here, to find out about commissioning 
an original, and affordable custom portrait of your family home!

Friday, March 28, 2014


There's a new item in my Etsy shop!  Here's how it evolved . . .

While on our trip to my oil painting workshop in Kentucky, I vowed to do a little something every day in my watercolor journal.  I knew if I didn't write it down (or draw it, as the case may be), a lot of the trip's memories would be lost.  So I did one or two pages in my journal every evening of our trip.  A couple of those pages involved the drawing of houses - the B&B in Versailles, KY, and our own home.   After posting those drawings on Facebook and this blog, several friends suggested that I add "home portraits" to my Etsy shop.

I hope you'll check it out.  I think it's very reasonably priced and a great, personalized gift for a new homeowner, or as a lasting memory of your childhood or current home.  I've tweaked it a bit since I first posted it on my Facebook page, altering the sizes just a bit to accommodate a mat with each drawing.  When your home portrait arrives, it will be matted and ready to slip into a standard size frame.  All you need to do it take a few photos and send them to me via my Etsy shop, and iPhone photos are just fine.  I give photographing suggestions on the listing page in Etsy.  
You can check it out here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


After a very snowy day in Kentucky touring horse country, we are all settled in for our last night in the south.  We are staying in Versailles at this stunning bed and breakfast, The Storybook Inn.  I'm done sketching for the night . . . maybe . . . and it's time to go downstairs and mingle with the others.

Tomorrow . . . home to Wisconsin!

Monday, March 24, 2014


This was the last day of the workshop with DREAMA TOLLE PERRY and what a great day it was!  The morning started out with an informative question and answer session with Dreama, followed by a fun exercise called "Musical Easels", and ending with an afternoon of putting all our newfound knowledge to work with a painting of our choice.  We learned so much at this workshop, along with a huge dose of inspiration to go home and PAINT!  

For "musical easels", we were all given a photo of a colorful cupcake.  We attached the photo to our own easel, set up our palettes, blocked in our painting, and the music began.  We got about 2-4 minutes at each easel adding to the painting as we saw fit.  When the music stopped, we moved on to the next easel.  The end results were surprisingly wonderful.  The one with the red polka-dot cupcake liner and a strawberry on top was my favorite.  When we were done, Dreama's husband walked in with several dozen beautiful cupcakes for the class.  While this might not seem like much of an exercise, it truly was.  We were all surprised at how eagerly and easily we changed things on a painting that was NOT ours, which naturally led to feeling more bold about making changes in a painting.

For my afternoon painting I used one of my favorite photos - the Ruby Horse Barn in Brookfield, Wisconsin.  

And one more journal post for today.  Thinking of how Kentuckians love their horses, made me think of what's roaming around in the fields of Wisconsin . . . cows.  I think we love painting our cows as much as they love painting their horses!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Painting from 9:30 to 4:00 again!  It was a great day of learning about color, mixing, technique, and brush strokes.  It's challenging but very fun - tiring but exhilarating - all at once.  In Dreama's own words, "How do we start, how do we keep colors lively, how do we use our brush as an extension of us? And then, after we have been painting awhile, the other questions that begin to surface… to stay excited, how to grow in our work, how to photograph your work, what about a website…..lots of things to look at! The one ingredient that will be present in each of my workshops is my passion to excite, motivate, and inspire you to find the true joy of expressing life through your painting."

She covers it all!

Then . . . 

It was a little crisp today, but beautiful and sunny!  So, we followed up a full day in the workshop with a drive out in the country passing horse farm after horse farm.  Beautiful, rolling, narrow country roads, lined with towering oaks on both sides and miles and miles of fence line enclosing each property.  Many of the farms have majestic, stone entrances bearing the name of the farm.  They're really quite beautiful.  Names like, Three Chimneys Farm, Lane's End Farm,  and Magdalena.  The whole city of Lexington is surrounded by the farms that care for and train some of the greatest racing horses in the world.

So, two journal pages for tonight.

Equal time.

Tomorrow we are to bring all our art related questions for an all group discussion led by Dreama and our OWN photo for our 3rd painting when we'll receive one on one time on how to develop that work and get more good advice on developing our own style. The last two days have been so inspirational - I know the last day will be more of the same. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014



Meeting Dreama Tolle Perry was awesome!  It was pretty intimidating at first, but once we settled in (and I learned that everyone else was a little overwhelmed also) the day proved to be chock full of fun.  There were about twenty, friendly, like-minded women, and lots of new techniques and challenges.  Dreama is just as sweet and encouraging as I had heard - and a fantastic teacher.  That lady can put together a beautiful painting right in front of your eyes.  It's mesmerizing to watch and she makes it look so easy.  However, when you head to your own easel to put that new knowledge to work . . . it's not as easy as it looks.

Tomorrow . . . finishing up today's painting and starting a new one.  Tonight we came back to the hotel after a great dinner and I did some more journaling.  The topic?  Next Tuesday, when the workshop is over, we're planning a fun day seeing more of this beautiful part of the country.  On the itinerary is a visit to Ashford Stud, home to some Derby winners!  So that was my inspiration for today's journal entry.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Today we drove into the warmth and sunshine!   Our driving distance of 468.6 miles took our car thermometer from 30 degrees to 72 degrees.

We drove all the way to Lexington, Kentucky for an oil painting workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry.  I told myself I would work in my watercolor journal every day of the trip - writing and painting a little bit about each day.  

We drove by so many beautiful horse barns, farmhouses, tobacco curing barns, all surrounded by rolling hills, and tidy fences that went on forever.  

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'll be off to the first day of my 3 day workshop held in the Artists Attic in downtown Lexington.  Time for bed . . .



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