feeding the soul, finding inspiration
David and I recently returned from a road trip that took us into some new territory. While we've traveled Texas and neighboring states of the Southwest between here and the California coast, made it up through Colorado and Wyoming into Montana several times, headed due east from Texas along the coast line to Florida, did a drive along the blue ridge parkway through North Carolina, spent a magical week in Vermont and, of course, explored Manhattan on several occasions when exhibiting at art and licensing shows in NYC, there's still so much to discover in this great country of ours.
This most recent trip took us into Arkansas and the lower Ozarks. While we were a bit early for the fall color that the area is known for, it was nonetheless an inspiring trip. We found that both nature and human creativity thrives...and we only scratched the surface.
From stately mansions that have been standing the test of time for more than a century to quirky and colorful "sweaters" wrapped around the trunks the trees from a recent "crochet in the park" event, creative expression can often be found in the most unlikely of places. I couldn't help but to think about the tenacity that it took to turn steep hillsides into communities: clearing the forests for roads, laying foundations for buildings, harnessing the natural resources (like the hot springs) to create both places for people to live and work, and popular destinations for tourists who would arrive by horseback and wagon, then train and finally by car. The first 3 photos below were taken in along Bath House Row in Hot Springs, Ark. The "Mona Lisa" was in a gallery window in Hot Springs. The crochet on the trees was found in a little pocket park in Eureka Springs. In researching things to see and do and recalling conversations with folks who had been or lived there, I came across something call Thorncrown Chapel and put it on my must-see list, which is shown in the last photo for this grouping. Located outside of Eureka Springs, it's an amazing glass church in the woods. As you can imagine, popular for weddings!
When it come to art and architecture, a highlight of the trip was a tour of Quigley's Castle. The creative spirit behind the project was Elise Quigley. How I would have loved to have met this amazing woman! If you are so inclined, I suggest you read about her and her "castle" when you get a chance. And if you're ever in Eureka Springs, take the drive south down AR23 and see it for yourself. In the meantime, here are a few photos.
Quigley's Castle combines art and nature, but of course, I'm always on the look out for colorful and interesting landscapes, from wide sweeping hilltop views to intimate details of leaves on a tree. And Arkansas had no shortage...even if we were too soon for much in the way of fall colors (but did find a little here-n-there).
And, last but not least...flowers! In the country, in towns, in cities, we found many varieties in bloom. Inspiration for future paintings, no doubt!
Thank you for taking this "trip" with me. I hope you enjoyed reading about our travels and getting to see some photos.
A few months back, I began experimenting with something just a bit different, but still in my wildflower theme. Once I got started, I couldn't stop and now I have 9 new paintings in this series, ranging from 5x7 to 30x40. I'm calling this my "Motley Meadow" series and, as always, prior to making them public I registered the copyrights on this new body of work. Some are still drying in the studio before they can be varnished and then will need some additional curing time before then can be shipped. The rest are ready to go and can be seen in person at Wildflower Art Gallery in Wimberley. If you are in the Austin/San Antonio/Texas Hill Country area, you can also arrange a in-home viewing. I hope you enjoy looking at — and collecting — these as much as I did painting them! Like the style but need a different size or dominant color scheme?
P.S. Let me know and I'll see what I can do! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call, 830-221-7676.
It's hard for me to NOT paint this time of year! I've been soaking up the images of wildflowers blooming on the roadsides and in pastures for weeks now and found myself to the point of overflowing...time to PAINT! Below are the results of my time in the studio and at the easel since early March. As of now, all are available and can be seen at Wildflower Art Gallery ... or in your home! Contact me to set something up!
Travels & Inspirations
What a glorious wildflower season we've had this year ... and it's not over yet!
I didn't realize that it had been 4 months since my last blog post. I do try to get in several a year but the first quarter of 2019 kept me busy, even busier than usual if you can believe that!
Starting in early March, the wildflowers start blooming in South Texas as they make their way northward. Since it generally warms up in the south sooner, the color generally pops sooner. Then as it gets warmer in each region, they begin to bloom. It's call the March of the Wildflowers and this year was one for the records!
Although I've had a full schedule teaching at my studio, I found time for a few road trips, plus have been taking time to soak up the views on my daily drive. Between the images in my memory and the ones stored on my iPhone, I soon found myself so overflowing with the inspiration that I had to find time to create some new wildflower-themed paintings. Over the last month or so, I found time and energy to sequester myself in the studio and paint, paint, paint. The new paintings will be ready to share soon.
Lubbock Arts Festival
While we are doing fewer shows this year, I was thrilled to be invited back for the 2019 Lubbock Arts Festival. Held April 12-14, the festival was a well attended and well organized. Two of the paintings that stayed behind were "Sky Dancers," and "Day Dream," both purchased by Katy, my newest collector.
There's such a mixture of feelings this time of year. Like many of you, I'm excited as I look forward to a new year that's filled with hope. At the same time, there's always uncertainty about what the future will bring. Meanwhile, as I look back on the year that has passed, I find the need to express my deep gratitude for the both the successes and the lessons learned.
My journey as an artist...
In 2018, I continued to add to my "signature" wildflower series while exploring a few new styles along the way. I do love to paint and fulfill the need to create something that I can share with the world. I worked with acrylic as my primary medium of choice, but I also found time to continue my journey with watercolor, even completing a "painting a day" series in July for World Watercolor Month. A challenge, yes, but there were tiny paintings so that helped me to meet the goal.
Throughout the year, many of my paintings found new homes with collectors, both long-time and first-time. It's always such an honor to know that my art brings such joy to people. And, of course, without folks who buy and collect my paintings, it would be difficult to continue to do what I do. So I am indeed grateful for every purchase! At the end of this blog post, I'm including a small sampling of paintings that sold in 2018.
...and a calling to teach
While I deeply enjoy creating art, I also get to teach and that gives me a different kind of satisfaction. Teaching is indeed a calling for me. Knowing that I can share my love and knowledge with others feeds my soul. I can easily say that over this last year, more than 100 students, ranging from 90 years old (but oh so young-at-heart) to age 5, have studied art of one sort or another with me. Offering classes at my studio in Wimberley and specializing in teaching beginners, helps me to fulfill a personal mission and brings me so much joy!
Sharing my art with the public...
Back to my life as an artist this past year, I've continued to get my paintings out into the world for people to enjoy and make the work available for collectors.
Of course, the primary and "year around" venue is our Wildflower Art Gallery that my husband and partner David manages so that I have time to paint and teach.
We opened the gallery in February 2015 so we are looking forward to marking our 4th anniversary soon.
In addition the gallery, I keep a selection of my paintings on display at Casa de Linda Art Studio. While it's not open to the public other than when I'm there teaching, my students enjoy the inspiration and many have become collectors as well.
I've also continued to show at the New Braunfels Art League Gallery, had several solo shows to Kerbey Lane Cafes in Austin and taken my fine art to shows in Texas and New Mexico. Plus, a special series of my small paintings as still available through Texas Highways magazine.
Meanwhile, my art licensing agent in the UK has continued to secure international clients who use my art on various products, including greeting cards and wall art.
Acknowledging that special someone...
Finally, I can't let 2018 pass without a shout out to my partner, David. He makes it all possible. Of course, he is so much more than just my business partner. This coming April, we'll be celebrating 23 years since saying our "I dos" on a sunny Easter morning.
And now for 2019...
I plan to continue doing what I do... paint, teach, love. Strive to express gratitude and practice patience. None of us know what the future will bring. But it is my hope that we all find peace of heart and joyfilled moments to remind us why we are here. Blessing to you and yours for the New Year!
A sampling of my paintings selected by collectors to brighten their homes-and-hearts in 2018...
New Mexico in the Autumn
In early October, David and I were able to steal away for a few days for a road trip to New Mexico. The purpose of the trip was for research. We are considering applying for a very popular art fair that is held every year during the Albuquerque Balloon Festival but wanted to check it out in advance before we decide to put it on our 2019 show calendar. While it was mostly business, we also needed to recharge our batteries and the mountains of North New Mexico were just what the doctor ordered!
As luck would have it (and sometime it does) our timing was perfect as the cottonwood and aspen trees were turning shades of gold. As we drove the switchbacks of the mountain roads north of Santa Fe that encircle the Taos Ski Valley, ribbons of golden aspens glowed against the deep green pine trees. The same was true of the Jemez National Recreation Area north of Albuquerque and west of Los Alamos, with the added bonus of red rocks that would nearly rival some of those you'd see in Sedona.
Meanwhile, stands of cottonwood trees that were often strongest along rivers and creeks put on a show of their own. Interspersed here and there were deeper yellow, orange, rust and red leaves from various trees and vines getting into the season. And among all of that fall color, incredibly, wildflowers were blooming! Most yellows and even some purples, they added to the beauty. Of course all of these images will be future inspiration for my paintings.
As for our research, we were very pleased with the show and are giving it strong consideration for next year.
Buying art for "above the couch"
Many professional artists roll their eyes and may or may not attempt to hide their disgust when something is said about "matching a painting to the couch." They would like to think that a collector is buying a painting because it moves them or they are considering it an investment. While that may be true, the reality is that when you add a work of art to your collection, it's because you want to see it and enjoy it...how, when and where you decide. For most people that means that that painting will find a home above a couch, a bed, an office desk or a fireplace. And to that I say, awesome. I WANT you to enjoy my art...all the time and anytime. Need to brighten up your dining room? What about the office? Or perhaps, even the bathroom? That's OK.
Getting to see a painting in a setting is called "in situ," (in position or in place.) While nothing beats getting to do that in person, a photo can convey the idea. Below are three images of my paintings in collectors homes (you can see more photos from my collectors by clicking here). That gives you an idea of how people use my art to brighten their homes. Next are some "mock up" shots, thanks to the magic of technology, that can give you an idea of how some of my available paintings would look in home or office settings.
Would you like to see what one of my paintings would look like on your wall? Again, thanks to technology, I can do that! Contact me for more information.
Paintings "dropped in to" photos of rooms...
Each time that my husband, David, and I travel, I like to follow up with a blog post about the trip. Since we just returned from Albuquerque, it's time again for one of my little reports for your reading pleasure and as a way that I can document my continued journey as an artist.
This time our travels took us on a 1600-mile-round trip to the Land of Enchantment for the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Holiday Festival, held Friday-Sunday following Thanksgiving. It was our first time to participate in this particular show but our 3rd time to exhibit in Albuquerque.
Before we made our way to the exhibit hall, we took the scenic route into New Mexico, leaving Tuesday around noon and stopping off at Ruidoso for the evening. We both love waking up among the pine trees and mountains! After our usual stop at Sacred Grounds for coffee, we stopped in for a visit with Judy at Long Coat Art Gallery and got to see their new location. We then made our way northward toward ABQ, enjoying the mountains, the vast valleys and wide open skies along the way.
On Thursday we spent Thanksgiving Day in a most nontraditional way...setting up for the show! Exhibitors had the option of setting up on either Wednesday or Thursday (or both) and most had already come and gone by the time we arrived on Thanksgiving morning...making it much easier and less stressful than what we usually have to deal with. This was a first for both of us and we actually enjoyed the day very much. (I did get in my "turkey-with-the-trimmings" dinner that evening at a Village Inn right next to the hotel where we were staying for the trip.)
We knew going into the show that it would be a different crowd and vibe from the last two we did there, which were held in March of 2017 and 2016. While we took a great selection of original art, we also put out a good inventory of my wildflower purses, note cards, calendars and ornaments, knowing that those would likely be the sellers for this show. And that they were! In fact, we almost sold out of both the ornaments and and the clutch purse. Plus, several boxes of note cards, a good number of my 2018 art calendars and several of the larger purses went home with happy customers as well.
We had several potential collectors look over the large paintings and feel confident that follow up sales will happen. But for the weekend, it was more about filling the gift list for most of the visitors. Knowing that my wildflowers will be bringing people smiles on Christmas morning is heartwarming!
The show came to a close on Sunday afternoon and it was time to pack out, head back to the hotel and try to rest up for the long trip home on Monday. Coming into Johnson City after dark gave us one last sight-seeing adventure to top off the trip. We turned off the main drag at the Pedernales Electric Coop sign to go see the lights they put out each year. Late on a Monday night, there was only one other car there so we almost had it to ourselves. What a treat!
We are back home now. Tomorrow, David will have our gallery open for business again and I'll be back to teaching!
I hope you've enjoy reading about our travels and seeing a few photos! Hope our paths cross soon!
Working on commission...
How "Texas Splendor" came to be
Do you love my work and style but need something in a specific size for a special place in your home or office? I'm often asked if I take commissions or special request. As a matter of fact, yes I do!
This is "Texas Splendor," created by special request for Janie, my newest art collector. She "found" me online while searching for bluebonnet art and fell in love with my paintings. But I did not have any that fit the long-n-narrow space that she wanted to fill. So she emailed and asked about my creating something for the space. After several exchanges back and forth, we settled on an 18x48 and something in my "sunset/sunrise" series with an emphasis on bluebonnets. I special order the canvas and set aside some time to work on her painting. Once complete, I sent photos and we arranged a time for she and her husband to come see it in person. A few days later, "Texas Splendor" was in its new home in Austin.
Are you interested in a painting for a special place but don't see anything in my portfolios that fit your needs? Let me know what you have in mind.
Finding Inspiration for something new
While I've been teaching both weekly adult painting classes and children's art camps this summer, I've also been spending a lot time in the studio painting. In fact, I have really been on a roll for several weeks and, as a result, I have a new series of my large wildflowers that I'm pleased to now have available. As you'll see, even from photos, they are similar but different to my signature style. But still, you can tell they are mine.
I never know how or when I'll start a new series but it generally comes with some sort of inspiration. Our travels to higher elevations and mountainous areas of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, for example, led to the Aspens series that I've enjoyed adding to off and on over the last few years. While we may not have Aspens or Pines where I live in the Texas Hill Country, they speak to my soul and painting them brings me joy as much as owning the work brightens the hearts and homes of my collectors.
With my teaching and studio schedule I've had, and David's job managing our gallery, we haven't had a chance to do much traveling this summer. But there have been many late evenings and early mornings that just stepping out on our deck is like taking a trip to an exotic location. You see, we have had some of the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises this summer. Every chance I get, I grab my camera and click, click, click to capture the moments... the color... the drama.
And that, my friends is the inspiration for this new series. However, there was something else that happened earlier this summer that also played a role in this new direction. And honestly, I'm still trying to understand exactly how and why, but I know it did.
Playing with a different medium
If you follow me at all, whether it be through my newsletters, Facebook posts or in person, you know that I started dabbling again with watercolor a few months back. That led to the creation of several small works that I like to call "studies." They ranged from still life scenes to landscapes and even some animals and a person! Most are really small for me, from 5x7 to 8x10 in size.
There was something about the process of painting with watercolor on small pads and blocks of paper that let me go both tighter with my style and expressive in the choice of colors. As I gained my confidence, I decided to challenge myself with a large painting on a full sheet of watercolor paper (22x30). With an entry in mind for the Texas Show at the New Braunfels Art League Gallery, I wanted to create a painting that captured the spirit of the theme. I started with a sunset, added a windmill and an oak tree and then decided it would not be Texas enough without some longhorn cattle. I completed the painting, which I titled "Texas Heritage Sunset," and was able to get it matted and framed just in time to enter it and a couple other paintings in the show the end of June.
And the winners are...
Lo and behold, I got a call to be sure to come to the reception because I had "won an award." It turned out that I won three. I had also entered one of my signature paintings of bluebonnets in the oil/acrylic category and it placed in the top 5 with an honorable mention. That painting also sold within a few weeks!
Meanwhile, "Texas Heritage Sunset," which measures 24x36 in the mat and frame, was awarded second place in water media by the show's judge. In addition, the representative for the show's sponsor, Capitol Wright Distributing, chose that same painting for the Sponsor's Choice Award.
This leads to that...new works!
Even as I played with the watercolor I was thinking about my next large canvases and what direction I might want to take. The images of the sunsets and sunrises kept coming back and I decided I needed to let that inspire me. Of course, there would still be wildflowers. But I wanted to let those colorful Texas skies dominate.
So far, I've created 6 paintings in the series, two 24x30, one 30x24, a 24x36, a 24x48 and a 36x36. They are shown below but you can also CLICK HERE to see these and my other newest additions.
I do hope that you've enjoyed reading a little about what goes on sometimes "behind the scenes" for an artist. Thanks for reading and for your continued interest in my life as an artist.