Sunday, November 24, 2013

rise and shine

Monday, November 18, 2013

Illustration Friday: Tail

squirrels nest

                                                              watercolor painting, "Squirrel's Nest"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tee Time

When I was at the Driftless Area Art Festival a few weeks ago, I met another Tammy Olson.  It's the second one I know besides me in our area.  When I was a guest artist at our local art gallery this past May she said she had congratulations from family and friends on her FB page for it!   Earlier this summer someone had heard I was pregnant, only to find out it was another Tammy Olson!  (Thank goodness)

Tammy wanted to know if I had any girl paintings in which they were playing golf, which I didn't.  I'm not a golfer so I hadn't thought about doing one.  (Though a love a good game of miniature golf!)  Tammy loves to play golf and described her outfit to me which she wears while golfing.  She pretty much drew the girl for me.

So this one is for her!

tee time

(I forgot to put the golf ball in the painting and had scanned it already and Fischer said to me, "I like it, but it's missing one thing."  I asked "What?"  and he said "A golf ball!"  So obvious, but I had never even thought about it.  Like I said, I'm not a golfer!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

And the marathon taper begins!

I've only ran one marathon and that was 10 years ago, the Portland Marathon.  The training was hard and pretty boring, specifically those long runs that prepare you to run 26 miles.  After completing the marathon, I remember saying I would NEVER run another one.  The race was long and painful and really who needs to run 26 miles?  I was 32.  My goal had been to run it under 4 hours.  My time was 4 hours and 3 minutes!  I missed my goal by 3 minutes!  It's kind of frustrating to have run for 4 hours and then miss a goal by only 3 minutes.

Flash forward to last summer when I was finally able to start running on a regular basis after having kids and also being able to run without the kids!   Every Sunday I would slowly increase the length of my run.  By the end of summer I was up to 13 miles and really enjoying those long runs.  It became my time, my quiet time, no interruptions, no demands, just me and the open roads.

I had a few friends who were running marathons last fall and running another marathon started to creep into my mind.  I ran a 10K last November and the racing bug bit me.  I signed up for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in January.  Guess what my time goal is?  Yup, under 4 hours.  My goal is to beat my 32 year old self.

hello taper

In the mean time I ran a half marathon in May and another one in August.  My training for the marathon started in June, a 16 week plan, with the race on October 6th.  These last 2 weeks of the plan are called "the taper."  It's a time to recover and rest before the big day, runs are shortened and are easier.  Sunday was one of my last long runs and towards the end of the run I kept thinking "yes, the taper!", "hello, taper", "I am ready for the taper!"  I had to doodle my excitement for the taper because I am so ready for it.

But now I'm starting to get nervous, 26 miles is a long way to run!  I really like the half marathon much more,  I feel like running anything more than 16 miles is really too much for me.  It really feels more mentally difficult than it is physically.  Some days it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that I was going on a 20 mile run and I would be running for close to 4 hours! 

The great part of all of this is I have found training this time a lot easier mentally and physically than I did 10 years ago.  I'm smarter than my 32  year old self and tougher and surprisingly  I feel my body has held up a lot better than it did 10 years ago.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it's partly due to the fact that I listen to it better and feed and nourish more wisely, I take care of it better.   So while my 32 year old self was indeed faster, it doesn't mean I still can't beat her.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Holy smokes it"s been awhile!   Summer is so fun but so so busy.  I think from now on I'm just going to sign off for the summer.  I'm not even sure where to start with this post, so here are just a few things so I can get this out of the way. 
My little munchkins (the reason why my summer was so busy) started school a few weeks ago,  Fischer, 3rd grade,

 and Amelia, kindergarten.   Wow!  Can it really be?  Where does the time go?  A blink of an eye and summer is over:(

Amelia goes to school 4 days a week, so I have 4 days ALL to myself.  I'm so excited to see what I can do with it. (like clean the attic and basement, oh yeah and make art!)

This past weekend I was in the Driftless Area Art Festival in Soldiers Grove WI.  Saturday was a perfect day, while Sunday started with rain and not a lot of sales but the music was wonderful and made the day magical in its own way.  Here are a few pictures of my booth.

Unfortunately I haven't picked up a pencil or paintbrush in almost a month.  It always seems there are so many other things to do, so yesterday afternoon I made myself sit down and draw and paint.  Whew, that felt good.  I'm so glad I did that.  Now that I have 4 days a week to myself I need to schedule in time just for this.  It's so easy to get lost in chores and errands.  

Now that I got this first post out of the way the rest will come easier, same goes with painting.  I'll be back soon, I promise.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Have a "Hoppy" Weekend!

Have a "Hoppy"  weekend wherever it should take you!  
(Fischer called dibbs on this painting before it was even finished!) 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Join me!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Luna moth

Recently I saw a picture of a luna moth and I knew I needed to do a painting of one.  What a beautiful creature!  I've only seen one in my life and that was just a few years ago.  It was resting on the side of a building, truly amazing.  I was even lucky enough to see a luna catepillar a few years ago too.  Wow, it was huge!  The luna moth used to be very common but now it is considered endangered in some areas.  Did you know that the luna moth doesn't have a mouth?  Crazy, isn't it?  It's main goal as a moth is to mate and lay eggs, living for about a week. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


As I'm typing this, I'm looking out my kitchen window at the icicles hanging off of our apple tree and wondering if spring is ever going to come?  We had thunderstorms last night, hail, snow and ice.  More snow and ice are in the forecast for tonight into tomorrow.  Arrgh!

Some of the migrating birds are back, but it has to warm up more before the sweet little hummingbird returns.  I'm wondering if we will skip spring here and it will go straight to summer?  Either way I'm ready for sunshine and warm weather. 


Thursday, April 4, 2013


I actually started this painting at the same time as my "Happy Little Houses" but for some reason I got stuck with this one unlike the other  which came about so easily.  I just wasn't sure what I wanted out of it.  I knew I wanted colorful little houses along the water, but I initially was stuck on them being along a canal of sorts, but I couldn't make it work.  I finally decided on how I wanted the houses and just as I was about to glue them down, I realized they looked like they were floating out at sea and I knew that wouldn't work and that they needed to be grounded!  The little sailboats were not in the original plan, but  I think they really add to the overall painting .


Wouldn't you like to visit this cheerful little place?  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring like

A couple of days ago the weather was actually nice enough that I could run outside instead of on the treadmill.  While running, I spotted my first robin!  Finally!  Even though there is still a lot of snow on the ground, it is starting to feel like spring outside.  The sun is higher and stronger in the sky, the days are longer and the birds are singing away.  That afternoon after my run, I had the strong urge to do a very spring like painting.
I thought I would share with you how I did it.  I knew I wanted to do a bird painting,  I initially thought pussy willows and gold finch, but as the painting evolved, my painting changed.


Going into the painting I knew what my color palette was going to be:  pastel colors:  pink, green, yellow, aqua and bits of orange.  I started with the pink first, different shades of pink mixed with white.

I then painted different shades of aqua over the pink, making sure to let some pink peek through.(I forgot to take a picture of just the pink and blue)  I then used a brayer for the lime green and white, again allowing the other colors to come through.


 My next color I wanted was yellow, so I used an old credit card to apply it in various areas.


I then collaged all sorts of bits of paper onto it trying to keep the elements in the palette I wanted, bits of tea bags, old paper doilies, old text, old wrapping paper and books.  This is where I added a little bit of orange here and there. This is when I felt it was really starting to come together. 


My bird changed from a gold finch to a blue bird!  I collaged the little guy out of painted coffee filters.  I initially drew him out in my sketchbook and then transferred the drawing onto the painting.  With the change of the bird I decided to go with cherry blossoms instead of pussy willows.  I thought it brought out the bits of pink from the background.  Again these were collaged from painted coffee filters.


Almost done here, the flowers are in place and the branches were cut from tea bags.  Very close to being finished, it just needs a few finishing touches to make it "pop".


Ta da!  Very spring isn't it! 

With a song of spring

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tea Time

I'm sitting down with a nice cup of hot tea as I write this, one of my favorite moments of my day.  How many times a day do you drink tea? Do you have a ritual or a daily rhythm of tea?  One of my favorite tea moments is when I have a hot cup of tea and I'm heading into my studio to sit down and work on my artwork.  Unfortunately this doesn't happen every day.  My morning tea is more of a welcoming the day tea, warming me up for the start of my day, while my afternoon tea is more about sitting down and having a moment of quiet time(usually in my studio) and my evening tea is a wind down tea from the days events after the kids are tucked into  bed. I used to have a cup of black tea in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and herbal in the evening, but now I only drink herbal tea.  I thought I would miss the caffeine, but I feel the same without it, so why drink it? 

With all this tea drinking it's a good thing that my favorite material to use in my paintings are tea bags. With this painting I wanted a more simple and clean look, so decided I just wanted to do the painting directly on the tea bags.  I had 2 large tea bags that I used for the background and left some nice frayed edges that don't go all the way to the sides of the painting.  I love the old look that the tea bags give to the painting with all its different tones and shades. 
for the love of tea

ps. I saw my first robin today!!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mandarin Orange Toss

All finished.  This one was a lot of fun to paint.  It's amazing how much more paint, tea bags, coffee filters and gel medium I went through painting larger.    If I painted this big all the time I would definitely be ordering from Dick Blick more than once or twice a year!  Both pictures are photos.  The colors are off.  The blues are more aqua and turquoise like the bottom picture.  The painting is too big for my scanner! 
I haven't come up with a name for it yet, but in the upper left corner is an old recipe I ripped out of a cookbook and the recipe is called Mandarin Orange Toss Salad, so I just might name this Mandarin Orange Toss.  I kind of like the randomness of it.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Going big (at least for me)

I was at the library the other day checking out and spotted behind the counter where they display their new books,  "Daring Adventures in Paint" by Mati Rose McDonough and snatched it up immediately.  It's a beautiful book with gorgeous photography and well laid out techniques with matching photos, the techniques themselves are pretty basic and seem more geared toward a beginner, such as using a brayer, squeegee, and transfer paper.   I always like to see how other artists approach their work and find inspiration in this.  So while the techniques weren't anything new, the eye popping color, her art work and her words were still inspirational.
My paintings are usually either 8 x 10 or 11 x 14 on watercolor paper.  After reading Mati Rose's book, I was inspired to try something different.  The only empty canvas I had was a 24 x 30 canvas, much bigger than what I'm used to.   I did the background with many of the techniques described in the book, building up layers of paint, brayering, using a squeegee, dry brush and then collage.  I'm not even sure what I'm going to paint on it, but it was a lot of fun just doing the background.  Very relaxing and freeing to paint bigger and more loose.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bursting with color!

cheerful town

I really love  how this painting turned out.  I feel happy whenever I look at it.   I hope it brightens your day too!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Needing some color

Needing some color today.

A little peak at the painting I'm working on.  Lots of Color!!  It's just what I needed on this dreary winter day.  I'm starting to wonder if winter will ever end?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paddle Ball Champion

Illustration Friday:  Talent

paddleball champ

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trout, trout, trout

My husband has been after me to do some fish paintings.  He says people like fish, you should paint some fish.   I keep telling him that fish don't really inspire me.   I did do one about 3 years ago, here.  It's one of my son's favorite paintings.  My husband wanted me to try and sell it, but Fischer wanted to keep it, so it is hanging up in his room.  Recently we were watching Market Warriors on PBS.  Have you ever watched it?  It's kind of fun.  They have antique pickers who go to flea markets and antique shows looking for treasures, and then these items are sold at an auction to see if they can turn a profit.  Last week when we were watching a vintage fish painting made a surprising profit and of course my husband piped in "see honey, people like fish".

So here is my fish painting, (I actually had this brewing in my head prior to the show, I think the show pushed me to move forward with it.)


I actually like how this turned out.  I'm not sure if it inspires me to paint more fish, we will see.  I'm thinking maybe some sort of tropical fish with coral would be next if I decided to do another one. 

I can't help but sing the little song from the Bugs Bunny square dance episode, "Hillbilly Hare" in which Bugs sings: 

Now into the brook and fish for the trout, 
Dive right in and splash about.  
Trout, trout, pretty little trout, 
One more splash and come right out.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

The same but different

I did this first  painting back at the beginning of January.  I wasn't entirely happy with it, actually it really bothered me because I didn't feel like it was doing what I really wanted it to do.  I wanted the bird to "pop" out more from the background.  I really liked the gloomy, dark background which was done with a coffee wash for the clouds and then tea bags  layered over the top, but I wanted it to have the feeling that the bird was "catching its color" from the colorful raindrops that were falling from the dark sky.  Brightness emerging from the dark. But I kept wondering if the background was too dark, and what would it look like if the background were lighter?

Catching color

This question kept bothering me, so I decided to do another one.  I started it right away, but then it sat on my desk for weeks, I finally decided to finish it.  I'm sad to say that I'm not entirely happy with this one either!

catching color #2

Oh well, t least I have it out of my system now and I won't be wondering "what if" anymore. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Little bird houses

This painting gave me a bit more trouble than planned.  I knew right away I wanted to do a painting with bird houses in a similar style as my "Our Town" painting.  It was going along well and then things weren't looking or feeling right.  Last night I started ripping the little roofs off, and then ripping off some of the houses, and trying out different colors and different scrapbook papers for the roofs, but nothing was working, so I went to bed, afraid that I might continue to destroy it.  I knew that tomorrow was a new day and things might look completely different.  I was right.

As soon as I looked at it this morning, I knew what was wrong.  My bird houses and their roof tops were mostly autumn colors, I needed spring colors.  The autumn colors just didn't seem to go well with the little blue birds whom seemed to be busy building their little nests.  As soon as I realized this, everything started to come together.  I ditched the scrapbook roofs for old paper doilies glued on top of tea bags which were then glued onto painted coffee filters, changed the color of a few of the houses,  and added a few little flowers to make it look even happier.

Flying home

Sunday, February 17, 2013

IF: Wool

We have a wonderful yarn shop in our town called "Ewetopia Fiber Shop".  I go in there once in awhile to oogle and awe over all the beautiful yarn, with a large selection of locally produced and dyed yarns.
I love walking up and down the rows soaking up all the rich and vibrant colors and thinking about all the things I could make.  But then the left side of my brain speaks up and reminds me that it's not going to happen and that you would much rather use your time painting and drawing, which is so very true.  I then walk out of the store feeling a little bit deflated in knowing the beautiful little projects that will never happen.

knit purl

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flowers a flutter

I finally finished the piece I've been working on for the past week or so.  It has a very summery kind of feel to it.  The color palate is very similar to my last painting  with the orioles in it.   I think they would go well together.

flowers a flutter

The part that took me the longest with this painting are the leaves.  It's probably hard to tell on the monitor, but each leaf segment is a separate piece of paper.  There are a couple segments per leaf in which it is watercolor right on the paper, but otherwise they are cut from either painted tea bags or coffee filters and then glued to the paper with gel medium.  It took me a full day to complete all of them. The flowers were created with painted tea bags and then I dipped the edges in a darker paint. The flower center is coffee filter and the stamens are with black ink.  The little butterflies made from tea bags and then painted with acrylic and black ink.

I'm starting to feel the call of spring.  The days are starting to get longer, I've noticed the birds are singing a little bit more and my chickens are much more active and they walk around with a happy little cluck.

Have a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

I made little arrows for Amelia's Valentines for school.  On the back of the bullseye she wrote her classmates name and her name.  It was a pretty big task for a 5 year old, but she persevered and did
all 19!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's been slow around here

In progress 

This is a little snap shot of a painting I started last week.  I had a few good days where I was able to spend a fair amount of time on it, but that was last week.  My husband and I started a cleanse 3 weeks ago and it's been pretty rough on me to say the least.  Why a cleanse?  I didn't really want to do it, but my husband did.  He has a lot of aches and pains, reflux, and snoring.  I joined him for the support.  We've been doing it with a master nutritionist and her guidelines.  The idea is to not eat common allergens such as gluten, dairy, corn, tomatoes, eggs, sugar, peanut butter and a few others for 3 weeks.  You still eat 3 meals a day and snacks.  After the 3 weeks, you slowly reintroduce these foods to see what kind of reaction you have, if any.  Wow, I've really missed my peanut butter on toast with a glass of milk!  The first week I was having constant cravings and felt so unsatisfied.

I've been so incredibly tired through this whole thing, and oh so crabby!  There have been nights when I've went to bed with the kids at 8:00!  This past week I've had a lot of headaches and joint and muscle aches.  The aches and pains are like when you have the flu.  I guess this isn't the typical reaction and we are wondering if I'm not having a reaction to something that I'm eating a lot of, such as almonds and almond butter or the protein shake that we've had for the last 3 weeks.  Luckily we are finished with the protein drink and have started introducing the foods yesterday.  I had 2 eggs yesterday and boy were they yummy!  Now that there is a bit more daylight, my chickens have started to lay eggs again.

I'm kind of bummed out with it all.  I know a lot of people who have done this cleanse and have hadwonderful results, especially with eliminating gluten from their diet.  So far that hasn't been my experience.  Tomorrow I get to have a glass of milk so maybe now I'll start to feel better!  I live in Wisconsin, I need my dairy!

Even though I haven't felt very well, it has been a good experience.  We've been eating a larger variety of vegetables, wonderful salads, lots of rice and all sorts of beans.  Instead of grabbing the carbs such as toast for a snack, we've been eating apples or celery with almond butter on it, carrots, and lots of nuts.  I've learned to make spouted almonds, how to eat buckwheat groats (which are quite yummy),  found lots of ways to eat brown rice, cooked more fish and found out that Fischer LOVES turkey burgers. (no red meat with the cleanse)

I finally found some energy to work on this painting today.  Hopefully I will finish it tomorrow or Thursday and I will be much happier because I will have had my milk!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Getting comfortable

I just had to share this image I took this morning while working on a painting.

Biscuit made herself comfortable in my little suitcase on my desk.  This is where i keep all my used tea bags.  I guess they make a comfortable cushion.

 Biscuit, our cat, decided to try out my little suitcase that I use for recycled tea bags as a bed.

I guess it must be pretty comfy and  cozy because here she is again this afternoon!


It's pretty cute to watch while I'm busy working.

Monday, February 4, 2013

O' Oh Oriole

o oh oriole

I'm kind of happy with this little guy.  I really love how the oranges turned out.  I feel happy when I look at them.  It makes me want to do more oranges, maybe oranges and limes are in the future. 

Making the oranges was a little time consuming.  I drew my images on the paper first, and then I cut all the segments and the outside of the orange separately and then glued them into place.  The outside of the orange is painted coffee filter and the inside is painted tea bags.  The tea bags have a nice sheerness to them, allowing little bits of the background to peak through.  The oriole is ripped pieces of painted coffee filter.  At first I was going to put leaves or flowers in there with the oranges, but I decided to keep it simple and not distract from the beautiful bird and his yummy snack.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In progress

I'm loving the oranges in this painting I'm working on.  Look closely and you will see a little birdie hiding in there!

In progress

Monday, January 28, 2013

A push start

I'm finally getting back into my studio.   I've been having a hard time finding even the smallest little urge to paint or draw.  All of the ups and downs of life this month have made it difficult to find any creativity or inspiration, so one afternoon I made myself sit down and just draw.  I spent a good hour  doodling in my journal to try and loosen up my tight brain.  My first attempt at a painting ended up getting partially cut up, but there might be hope for it yet.
This painting was my second attempt which thankfully came about pretty quick and easy which is something that I really needed. 

sunset flight
 "Sunset Flight"

As much as I love to paint, once in awhile it is so hard to get started.  Why is that?  All I really needed was a good little push, like a push start for my creativity.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Bison are such a unique and amazing animal.  One of my  highlights when we went to Yellowstone was waking up, looking out our window of the Old Faithful Lodge and seeing the bison.  The morning was cold and foggy, but their big dark figures contrasted beautifully against the colors of the geysers and hot springs.  It was one of those moments that will be etched in my mind forever.


Last summer on one of my running routes, there were two bison that were always out to pasture.  As I would start running past them, the one would come running up the field towards me, it always frightened me a bit as it came bounding through the long grass, only an electric fence between me and it, but just as it would reach the fence it would change direction and then it would  run the length of it with me.  A little unnerving, but kind of cool.

This piece came together pretty quickly.  I recently saw a picture of bison walking through Yellowstone and the hot springs and was inspired by the bright red, orange, and yellowy rust colors of the hot springs.  I painted a bunch of tea bags in these wonderful colors and tore them in strips and glued them down over coffee stained paper.  The dark brown strips in the painting are from a very concentrated coffee.  I love how rich the color is when I do that.  The clouds and sky are watercolor and gesso together which gives it a wonderful feathery kind of appearance.   The bison are cut from painted coffee filters.  I didn't do a lot of embellishing to this piece because I feel like it works just as it is and has the feeling that I'm looking for.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mr Moustache

Here is her partner.

mr moustache

   And here they are together:

cherry and mr moustache

I'd like to think that he is hiding a little smile under that big moustache.

Have a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

And a New Year begins


Hello and Happy New Year!
I woke up on New Years Day and decided that I would spend most of the day painting and drawing,  totally guilt free, not worrying about all the Christmas messiness that surrounded me.  I thought this would be the perfect way to spend the first day of the year, doing what I love and also knowing that this was what I wanted for the rest of the year too.

And what a productive little day I had.  I need to do this more often.  I tend to paint a little bit here and there, whenever I can sneak it in, never quite getting into the flow.  So maybe my New Year's Resolution needs to be to commit to one day a week of nothing but painting and drawing.  A day where I can work without worrying about vacuuming or dirty bathrooms or laundry.  I think it might be a fun resolution to try and work on.

I've been thinking about taking Misty Mawn's  "Face to Face" with Mixed Media Art:  A study of portraits and beyond and I think that is how this painting came about.  This piece started with my usual coffee stained background and then I glued tea bags over the top of it  and it created a wonderful brown background with subtle tones and variations.   Her face was created with light colored tea bags, charcoal and acrylics.  Her hair from painted coffee filters.  Her dress is part coffee filters, tissue paper, gesso and charcoal.  

Fischer my son looked at her with a wrinkled up nose and said "she looks like she is from another country"  and I think he is right.  My niece left for Spain the day after Christmas to study for a semester, perhaps there was a Spanish influence? 

I'm imagining her partner with a big black mustache.
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