Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making the Cut

I've been working on this robin painting for the last few days.  I really didn't have much of a plan for it but I had started painting in a color palette that I usually don't use,  kind of a gold and a seafoam green type color, I wanted to try something different.  Well slowly the green turned to mostly aqua and the gold turned to a nice light yellow and I added some nice red, and some daffodils.  Over the course of the day I started to like the piece less and less, and then started painting over things, pasting things, but the little robin seemed to be getting lost.  At first I thought I should try to salvage it and started painting yellow all over the place and for some unknown reason I  tried some pink which really pushed me over and I grabbed my scissors and cut the little guy out.


Whew, what a relief! I felt so much better after I got him out of there.  Poor guy. 


He looks so much happier in his new little home where he's telling me to "cheer up, cheerily, cheer up," for all is not lost. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garden Plans

It's time to think about gardening!  (Actually I should have started at least a month ago.)  I received my Seed Savers Exchange catalog months ago, but finally figured out what I need to order out of it today.   Seed Savers Exchange is located in Decorah, Iowa which is only a few hours away from me.  They sell heirloom vegetables, herbs, flowers,  and many of them are also organic.  The cover is stunning with so many shades of purple and splashes of yellow.  After seeing the inspiring cover back in December or January, you would think that I would have tore open the pages and figured out my garden right then and there, but no, the catalog got tucked away on a little shelf.



I feel like I'm a little behind with my garden plans, but I have such a hard time getting excited about gardening in the middle of winter.  This will be my 3rd year for a garden.  I remember the first year going through this catalog and feeling so overwhelmed and excited, with just too many things that I wanted to grow.  I think it took me hours just to figure out what to order.  With a couple years of gardening under my belt, the ordering was actually a snap.  


With the seeds I had leftover from last year, Amelia and I planted a few trays for starts.  These little trays are great and come with a little plastic cover, kind of like a mini greenhouse.  I feel like I'm behind on all of this, but looking back at my notes from last year I didn't start my seeds until April 10th.   Someday I hope to have a small greenhouse for starts, but also to try and extend the season for some cold hardy crops.  Last winter an Amish friend had spinach all winter, what a treat that was.
Next comes trying to figure out where to plant everything, which I'm still trying to figure all that out, what grows best where, and what to plant next to each other, because not all plants like each other and don't grow well when planted together,  I guess it's called companion planting.   I just received our new Mother Earth News yesterday and it's  loaded with gardening info, companion planting (just what I was looking for!), heirloom veggies, food security and more.  On their website they have new this year, the Vegetable Garden Planner which helps you design your garden, where and how much to plant, plant spacing,  crop rotation, and more.  I might have to try the free 30-day trial.  I have a pretty good size garden for living in town and need to learn how to use it to its full potential so we get lots of yummy food for as long as we can. This year I'll even have some little helpers who say they want to garden with me this year!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Back in January

I thought I'd share just a few paintings that I did back in January, they are definitely not my favorite.   I wasn't feeling very inspired at the time.  I don't mind the butterfly painting, but the jellyfish one was rather disappointing.  I had an idea in my head and it didn't turn out anywhere near what I imagined.   Isn't that frustrating when that happens?  It almost feels like a waste of my time, but I know that's part of the whole process of growing and learning as an artist, but it's still disappointing to spend a lot of time on something and not like it in the end.  It's crazy how I find one week where I'm over flowing with ideas and inspiration and then the next week I can barely find the motivation/inspiration to get anything started. I think I need to keep track of when my inspiration flows, is it hormonal? is it the moon? is it stress?   lack of Vitamin D ! because I find at the same time I'm when I'm having a hard time coming up with new ideas to paint, I'm also really unmotivated to cook and nothing sounds good to eat.   Hmmm...
The little squirrel I did  on a day where I was totally uninspired but I still felt like painting,  talk about frustrating!  That day I saw a squirrel sitting on the fence and walla, there  was my idea!   A very simple painting that satisfied my urge to paint that day.

in the garden


little squirrel

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Oooh, it was a chilly weekend.  We saw a lot of sunshine, but not the warmth to go with it.   Despite the cold weather we made sure to get outside.   One of Fischer's favorite things to do is to go on an "adventure."  We went looking for rocks, diamonds, gold and fossils, we were hoping for watercress, but it was a little early and too small.  We found bones, nests, lots of cracking ice puddles, tons of mud and plenty of "shiny" rocks.  Hope you found a little "adventure" this weekend too!

Picnik collage

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring is on the horizon

Color on the horizon

I went to post this picture last night and realized I hadn't painted legs on the poor little birdie!  I thought about still posting it and seeing if anyone would notice, but it just bothered me too much not to have legs.  I love seeing pussy willows in the spring, it reminds me of driving with my grandparents and looking for them along the roadside.  I haven't seen any around here yet except for at the store which I believe are forced into early opening.  We saw our first robin last week and the calendar reads spring, but the thermometer says otherwise and the ground is covered with freshly fallen snow.  Amelia woke up yesterday and asked "Mama, why did it snow?"  What a good  question, I was wondering the same thing!  We are all ready for spring, even our 3 year old who is just learning the changes of seasons. Luckily though, the  sun is shining today and there are signs of melting, we know the snow won't last for long.  This little painting reminds me that spring is on the horizon!

Monday, March 21, 2011



I'm having visions of warm sunshine,  flowers, and dragonflies.  Soon, very soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

fresh showers

fresh showers

I'm finding it hard to paint and write about happy things when so many people in Japan are going through the unimaginable.  Somehow it feels wrong for me to sit here and write about a cheerful painting while others are trying to find food and water and prepare for a nuclear disaster.  I feel a little guilty going about my life as usual and feeling joy in the warmer temperatures which are here and the happiness of knowing spring is at our doorstep.   My thoughts and blessings are with Japan right now.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A happy little stumble

Before moving back to Wisconsin from Idaho, a good friend of  mine gave me a framed and matted print.  She told me she couldn't remember the name of the artist.  The print was beautiful and it was such a thoughtful gift that it didn't really matter to me who the artist was.  I look at the print everyday because it hangs in the kids play room.
Last week I went to the town of Westby which is just 7 miles north of us and went into a little store there called Dregne's Scandinavian Gifts.  This region of Wisconsin has a very strong Scandinavian heritage and is very proud of it.  While browsing around and looking at books, I saw to my surprise on the cover of one of the books, the print which is hanging in my house, with the artists name, Carl Larsson,  the print is called "The Kitchen."  They were books and books of just his paintings.  They had calendars, coloring books, kids books and other gifts with his art work on it. Wow, I had no idea!

Carl Larsson 'The Kitchen'

Carl Larsson I found out was a Swedish painter and an interior designer who lived from 1853-1912.  Many of his paintings are of his wife and children as his models and in their home.  I guess their house is one of the most famous  artists homes in the world because of all the paintings of it.  I had never heard of Carl Larsson, but I just thought it was so perfect that I have a large wonderful Scandinavian print hanging accidently in our home.  Our last name is Olson, so we definitely have Scandinavian heritage!

Here are just a few of his paintings.  I just love the simple beauty of his paintings and the peacefulness that I feel when  I look at his paintings and the way everyday moments are captured so well. It makes me wish for simpler times, but definitely not the clothes to go with!

File:VĂ¥ren (1907) av Carl Larsson.jpg

Carl Larson

Carl Larson

Carl Larsson 'Getting Ready For A Game'

The house has stayed in the family and looks the same today!  It looks like a happy little place to live.

 larsson real dining room via loobylu Carl Larsson’s Inspirational Interiors

Monday, March 7, 2011

hop on, hop over, then add a hop

hop on, hop over and add a hop

This past January I did a bunch of rabbit sketches and found them recently when I was looking through my sketch book.  With spring approaching and Easter just around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time for a little bunny painting.   I found some old hockey drills I had written out, and used that for some of the text and for the title, "hop on, hop over, then add a hop."  I love finding such random things and seeing how they can fit perfectly together. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

in the shelter of each other

in the shelter of each other

I was browsing through one of my Mary Janes Farm magazines and I found an Irish Proverb- It is in the shelter of each other that people live.  I thought that it would make a great title for this painting.  I've been so attracted to the pastels lately, pinks, yellows, turquoise, lime green and orange, not so much purple or lavender  though, purple is one of my least favorite colors to use.  I think this means that I am ready for spring.  Slowly, slowly you can feel things shifting.  The sunlight is shining brighter in the house,  the sun is starting to rise earlier and set later and the cardinals have started to sing just a wee bit.  We still have a lot of snow on the ground and more in the forecast for tomorrow, but I can feel winters grip loosening up.
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