Backroad Beauty

10″x8″ pastel on sanded paper

Sometimes, a detour or wrong turn can turn into a gift of unexpected beauty. I have a terrible sense of direction, and I am easily distracted by beautiful things along the way, which often causes me to be on roads which were not on my planned route. I have learned to enjoy these moments because I might happen upon something delightful when I am off my beaten path. Perhaps it will be afternoon light on an old barn, a field of flowers, or a longhorn in a field. I hope that when life gives me detours I can apply this same lesson of patience and hope still enjoy the drive.


Please enjoy a celebration of pink paintings this month, in honor of breast cancer awareness. I paint for my friends and family who have fought the good fight against cancer, for their families, and for all caregivers who help along with the journey toward a healthy self (body, soul, and spirit). In my strokes of pink, are prayers of strength and healing.

FS 151

5″x7″ pastel on sanded paper

The road that runs between Christ in the Desert Abbey, and Ghost Ranch is one of my favorite places in the world. I love the canyon, the drive, the Rio Chama, and especially what lies at either end of this forest service road.

After lugging many pounds of heavy painting equipment around all summer, I came home and lightened my load! Check out my new travel set up. It is the smallest Heilman pastel box, which I carefully adapted with the help of my, clever and handy, Spanish exchange student. The box is made to securely hold pastels on one side, and carry paper on the other. As designed, there was no way to hold the support in the top half of the box so it kept sliding down. Second, the paper holder it came with didn’t work very well. After some brainstorming, we removed the stock paper holder and then added the 4 pieces of silver hardware you can see in the top of the photo. We made them adjustable, so they can hold the lid, and paper of varying sizes, in place. The trickiest part was carving out part of the box to allow room for the hardware so that the box will still close.

Today was my test drive, and I am delighted!

Walking to School – SHOW!

24″x36″ oil on canvas

Please come see my show “Walking to School”! It will open at the Sunderman Gallery There will be an opening reception 6-8pm, Thursday, September 13th. 5100 Ross Avenue, DALLAS,TX 75206

I use my art as a way to notice something beautiful everyday. “Walking to School” has been a whimsical fun series chronicaling my second grade daughter’s daily walks to school.   My 3 older children all start school an hour before my youngest. We like to eat breakfast as a family, so that leaves Lydia and I an extra hour every morning. What I am trying to do is not waste our gift of time, the phrase “killing time” is a phrase that makes me so sad. Instead of “killing” that time I have painted it, and all the adventures and beauty that we found in those extra hours. This series is about half landscapes of what we have seen on our daily walks and half mixed media pieces of people walking. It includes: homework, tardy slips and bit and pieces we collected along the way.  In addition to many kinds of media, I have used a bit of magical realism in these paintings. For example, in “Spokes and Shadows” the light was beautiful, the shadows were beautiful, but the backdrop was generic new suburbia. In my mind, I saw a fantastic tree lined drive, with a young girl pumping up a hill onto great things. In the painting, I created the leaves with bits of homework. As the leaves fell, I could imagine the days and years and the entirety of Lydia’s childhood landing on the drive as she confidently rode into the future.

These paintings are about being present: we put away the phone, compose a rhyme or poem, talk about the day, share our hopes and dreams, plan dinner or our next family celebration.  We notice what is in bloom, when the leaves change color, or when someone repainted their front door. We have noted that all those carpoolers don’t have a chance to: meet a new neighbor, pet a kitten, do a cartwheel, twirl a tutu, pick a flower or sneak a fresh fig hanging over the fence.

In painting this series, my hope is you will be reminded of a sweet memory of when you walked with your friends, siblings, or parent to school. Or you will be reminded of when your child walked to school. Perhaps you will be inspired to be present and get out and find the beauty and life that is in YOUR neighborhood waiting for you to just enjoy and discover!  Perhaps you can grab your dog, or kid, or mom, or neighbor and embark in a simple way to really live your life…go for a walk.

Let’s Take This Side Road

8″ x 10″ pastel on sanded paper

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” -Erol Oman

We are driving across West Texas today. The wildflowers have been delightful! I love all to imagine what is down all those side roads. And to further imagine what would, or could happen when we get off the beaten path whether it be the highway, or just the course we are heading.

My lap studio.

Walking On

Pastel on sanded board 24″x18″
I jumped out of my seat the other day when I saw this beautiful, sprite of a woman charging across the alfalfa field. I loved the abstract shape that the sunlight was making connecting her hat and blouse and I knew it would make a beautiful painting. So…I ran and chased her down the road trying to snap a photo. Don’t let the walker fool you, she was trucking. I was inspired and touched. I loved that she returned to the ranch with a walker instead of staying home. I enjoyed watching several elders interact with their families last week. Three different families were here with someone who was in need of special care and it was a joy to watch them nurture and help. I hope that when someone in my family has a stroke, or goes blind in one eye, or whatever ailments age or life bring I will be there to help them continue to do what gives them life. I also hope that when my balance falters I will buy a walker, ask for the help I need, and keep on trucking!

Roadside Primrose

The evening primroses are in full bloom right now. I love how the light illuminates through their petals, almost making them glow. This hill was covered in them, almost like it had been painted pink. I included the highway below because it reminds me that there is beauty all around, even near noisy interstates.

Thank You Lady Bird

My studies and thumbnails from Hawaii outlasted my trip, and although I still have a dozen or so more to complete, spring in Texas is just too hard to ignore. I hope you enjoyed the tropics; you might want to trade your flip flops for boots, we are headed deep into the heart of the lone star state!

“When I was a little girl, I grew up listening to the wind in the pine trees of the East Texas woods.
My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth.
My special cause, the one that alerts my interest and quickens the pace of my life, is to preserve the wildflowers and native plants that define the regions of our land—to encourage and promote their use in appropriate areas, and thus help pass on to generation in waiting the quiet jobs and satisfactions I have known since my childhood.” – Lady Bird Johnson, in her own words

Thank you Lady Bird for leaving such a beautiful legacy. May we all find our special cause that alerts our interest and quickens our pace.